A series dedicated to a retrospective on the last season and a hope for next.
Despite the Bruins continued failure to stock the jersey of the guy who hits with the force of his uniform number caliber, he’s a fan favorite. With good reason is Mark Stuart beloved by the Garden Faithful and the cavalry beyond the causeway. He epitomizes Bruins Hockey. He never takes shifts, much less nights off, he will stick up for himself and his team mates with out batting an eyelash and he does everything in his power to help the team succeed. As a defensive defenseman he’s at his best blocking shots, taking away shoots, and breaking up passes.
This season was hampered by his first trip to the injury unit in his time as a Bruin. Worse, his second and third trips to the trainers table followed hard on its heels. Having entered the Bruins line up two full seasons ago and stayed there up until the time of his first injury he was the Bruins reigning Iron-Man at the time of his first injury a broken sternum. His second injury occurred after leveling one of the best and most underrated players in the NHL.
Next season is pretty simple for the man dubbed The Caceman, continue to improve his offense, keep his defense at at the level that made him the best defenseman on the ice in the Carolina series two years back and stay healthy. He’ll likely be paired with Johnny Boychuck for a good portion of the season. Several times last year they were the best pairing on the ice. With the additional seasoning both have received I can’t wait to see what havoc they reap on both ends of the ice.
As the Bruins third center, he has mostly seen time against the number two and number three defensive units of other teams. This past season saw him spend time as either the number one or two center when injuries took Bergeron and Savard out of the lineup. The difference in quality of competition showed more than once as top defensemen and better forwards than the previous campaigns exploited his less than two seasons of NHL experience.
Lamed is the best word to describe Krejci’s second full season in Boston. Lamed by the recovery from a hip injury which he returned to the ice from ahead of time. Lamed by wingers either plagued with inconsistency and off ice issues or just buried in the midst of what admirers and management hope was a sophomore slump. Between the mud puddle depth on wing and a team that seemed to regard apathy as its first duty this young centers season had few highlights.
Next season he has to first hope for rejuvenated wingers or an upgrade in them. He also needs to keep his awareness of the puck and opponents high or risk another season ending injury like the clean and clobbering Mike Richard’s hit that took him out of the playoffs.