BOSTON — David Krejci hit a milestone with the Bruins on Monday that only six other Boston players reached before him.
When Krejci started the B’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden, he officially played in 1,000 NHL games. He joined Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Bucyk, Wayne Cashman, Ray Bourque and Don Sweeney.
“Leading up to this game, I had lots of messages, lots of people talking about this game,” Krejci said. “I don’t want to say I had to cancel that outside noise but in a way I did.”
Any cancelation of said outside noise certainly worked because tt was a good day for Krejci and the Bruins, who easily took care of the Flyers with a 6-0 win. The center had three assists on the afternoon and his line with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha was near unstoppable as Philly only could sit and watch it take over each shift.
The 1,000-game milestone is a remarkable one no matter who you are. But in Krejci’s instance, he still added the accolade to this résumé even after leaving the NHL for a season to play in the Czech Republic.
“I was obviously thinking about this game recently a lot,” Krejci said after the game. “It’s obviously a big accomplishment playing for one franchise, for an organization like this. I’m really proud of myself to be able to do that.”
Krejci was met with a standing location from the TD Garden crowd when the public address announcer announced it was his 1,000th game.
“Mixed emotions,” Krejci said of the ovation. “It’s tough to answer that. Obviously, I’m so glad that they called me and they wanted me to come here. It wasn’t a hard decision to do it in the summer. It helps when the team’s doing well. You come every day to the rink with a smile on your face and you enjoy every moment because you don’t know how long it’s going to last. It was great. It was a really cool feeling.”
There was a puddle of water in front of Krejci’s stall in the locker room, likely from a celebration of the milestone after the game. Krejci admitted he planned to give a speech, but just decided to be in the moment.
“When you hit a milestone, you have to give a speech and I was planning on saying something the last few days. But it just kind of hits you in the moment,” he said. “You don’t expect it. It was a pretty special moment, the guys came up and did their thing and I’ll never forget it. It was pretty special. But my speech, I forgot everything I wanted to say.”
Krejci did reveal he knew he wanted to return to the Bruins last summer after taking some time off to think about everything. But he didn’t want to play anywhere else.
“It’s been my home. I’m very thankful and grateful that they gave me a call in the summer to come back,” Krejci said. “Obviously there are some expectations, but I’m just glad with the way the team is playing. The record speaks for itself. I feel this could be a special year. … We know what we have in this room, we don’t take it for granted, and we’ll see how it goes. But I like the mentality of this team to stay in the moment, take it game-by-game. Practices have been good. Obviously, the coaching change helped a lot. We’re obviously feeling good.”
Krejci played under ex-head coach Bruce Cassidy for all but what would be Cassidy’s final season on Boston’s bench. There was plenty of speculation about whether that played a role in Krejci’s return, but sometimes a new voice is needed to recapture what you have in a team like the Bruins.
Krejci will be honored in a pregame ceremony for his 1,000th game on Feb. 20 when the Bruins host the Ottawa Senators.