David Krejci is still chipping away

David Krejci, Upper Deck, 2015-16

There is hardly the space to shower the correct praise upon all the Bruins who deserve it.

For example: Tuukka Rask is playing at a god-level, to a point that the “what took so long” crowd has conveniently overlooked that he’s been an excellent goaltender in this league for a decade now. Patrice Bergeron is as solid and skilled a player as one could hope to be. Brad Marchand is a professional jerk in all the best ways. David Pastrnak is a kid at heart who also happens to be a total sniper. David Backes is chasing a dream. Zdeno Chara is defying time and age and remains absolutely terrifying.

And those are the primary storylines as the Bruins line up against the St. Louis Blues in an effort to get their name on the Stanley Cup for the seventh time. Missing in there is David Krejci, quietly leading his line, playing in every scenario and generally being the silent stalwart he’s been since earning his place in 2007.

For a group that cherishes its history and loves to fete its longtime players, Krejci doesn’t get the attention he likely deserves. But through this most recent playoff run, he’s done nothing to damage his place in history.

His group was been a bit up-and-down that first series, with various partners on one side (David Pastrnak, Karson Kuhlman, Marcus Johansson) and Jake Debrusk on the other. Things settled down starting with Columbus in the second round with Backes earning a permanent spot on his right side, and from there,t he’s mostly been himself, putting up 14 points across 17 games — not the playoff demon he’s been in campaigns passed, but still doing his thing to anchor that line and keep things steady. Only Marchand (18 points) and Pastrnak (15) sit ahead of him.

That steadiness is what gets lost. This season, he laced them up for 81 games, sitting for only the Bruins second-to-last match in Minnesota. And he cranked out 73 points in that stretch, tying his career-high circa 2008-09. So why did this seem like such a quiet accomplishment?

The quick answer comes from the three folks above him on the team’s regular-season scoring chart. Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak were a three-headed monster for most of the season, Chara continued to anchor the blueline at age 42, the dumbest of our regional commentators continued to wring their hands over Rask. So where’s the room to point out the stalwart center continuing to produce?

Here’s some room, in a forgotten space where I can expound on those things that interest me.

Among the Bruins’ greats, he pops up a good amount on their career leaderboards. He’s eighth all time in assists with 449, ninth in points (643), and his position on the playoff table is even more impressive. He’s third all time in points at 101, behind only Ray Bourque and Phil Esposito, having lapped Rick Middleton, Johnny Bucyk and Bobby Orr during this run. [1] The numbers bear him out amongst the Bruins greats — scoring with this regularity in an era when numbers are down across the board is no small feat.

But there’s also something sublime about just watching him at his craft. Earlier this year, I was sitting in the balcony when the Carolina Hurricanes came into the Garden dressed up as the Whalers, and I saw him and Jake DeBrusk engineer this beauty of a goal in overtime. It’s not necessarily the greatest goal he’s ever scored, or the most important, but it’s emblematic of how tricky and impressive he can be with the puck on his stick.

Someday, there should be more from this era than Chara and Bergeron with their numbers hanging from the rafters, alongside the likes of Bourque, Orr and Middleton. Arguments can and should be made for Marchand and Rask, two more principals in one of the greater stretches of history for this 95-year-old team. If that’s the criteria, lifting Krejci’s 46 to their ranks shouldn’t even be a discussion.

Four more victories on the resume certainly wouldn’t hurt, either. Any group that can raise the Stanley Cup twice in a decade deserves every bit of acclaim they can get. Be sure to save some for the Czech national who does nothing but the things he should.

1. Bergeron, meanwhile, isn’t doing so poorly, with 99 points in sixth place.

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