Boston Bruins center David Krejci is lukewarm on the idea being examined by the NHL and the NHLPA to resume the season. Charles Krupa/Associated PressWith David Krejci’s advancing years – he turns 34 on Tuesday – and perhaps with the coronovirus shutdown making his heart grow even fonder for hockey, the Bruins’ centerman said in no uncertain terms he wants to continue playing after his current contract expires in 2021.

He also said he’ll be willing to do whatever is asked to restart the season so the Stanley Cup can be awarded.

But Krejci sounded decidedly lukewarm to the idea being examined by the NHL and NHLPA that – provided health and government officials give it the OK – that calls for teams to disperse to four yet-to-be-determined NHL cities to finish the season and start the playoffs. If it even gets off the ground, it promises to be a logistical nightmare as teams could potentially be sequestered for months.

“I’m not really sure if I’m a fan of being at one arena with a bunch of teams,” said Krejci on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “But I guess we all want to finish the season so whatever the scenario, the safest place, the safest way to finish the season, then that’s what we’ll have to do. But at the same time, it will be a little more challenging with people with families, kids. I don’t really know how that would work out, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Even if the NHL and NHLPA can make this scenario happen, there seems to be little chance games could be played in front of fans. Krejci had just relived winning the Cup on an already infamous Zoom meeting with his 2011 Bruin teammates, and admittedly was having a hard time wrapping his mind around a team winning the Cup in an essentially empty arena.

“That would be weird because fans are a big, big part of the sport, right? Without the fans it wouldn’t be the way it is now,” said Krejci. “But if that’s what we’re going to have to do, then I guess that’s what we’ll have to do. I’m sure people will watch it on TV. But it will be a little different. You always think about winning the Cup, lifting it up with the crowd there and then having a parade in the city. But I understand that it’s not possible right now. It is what it is. There are more important things than that, but I’m sure people would watch it on TV. TV’s been pretty boring without any live sports right now.”

No matter the scenario or how far outside the box the league ventures to restart the season, finishing the season remains a high priority for Krejci. That’s true even though whatever semblance of a playoff can be conjured will have a tenuous-at-best connection to the 2019-20 season; any advantage the Bruins might have earned through their outstanding 70 games will be lost.

“You definitely want to finish the season, especially with the older you get, you don’t know how many seasons you have left. We were pretty close to being in the playoffs and having another crack at it,” said Krejci. “You don’t want to kind of just wash the season off and then start a new one. We definitely want to finish it, especially with the team we had this year being at the top of the standings with (12) games left in the regular season it would be nice to finish the season off. But at the same time, being off for this long – who knows how many more weeks and months – and then go back into the playoffs, that’s going to be real challenging. As the Bruins, it’s not going be any advantage anymore. I don’t think it matters who finished first or who was 15th or 20th. I think if we start the season or the playoffs, it’ll be like a new season anyway, so us as players, all we can do is what’s under our control, which is stay in shape and what happens will happen.”

And that, he admits, is a challenge. Krejci said he’s been doing mostly rudimentary exercises – squats, push-ups, stationary bike, running – but said that the most difficult part is not having a timetable.

“It’s tough,” said Krejci. “It’s challenging because you don’t know when we’re going to come back, so you cannot work out every single day. It’s just not possible to (go from) mid-March and just work out till the season starts. You don’t even know when. You need your body to rest as well, so that’s a challenging part. But we’re all professionals. We know our body, we should know what to do, so that shouldn’t be any problem.”

There’s no guarantee the NHL can return to finish out this season, or be unaffected for the ’20-21 season for that matter. Krejci’s contract with the Bruins runs out after next season. With an average annual salary of $7.25 million, Krejci is the highest-paid player on the team. He’ll be 35 when this deal is up, and he won’t be getting that same number on his next deal, whether it’s with the Bruins or anyone else in the NHL or other league. But he doesn’t plan to hang up the skates just yet.

“I’m not planning on retiring, that’s for sure. I want to play after that,” said Krejci. “How long or what’s going to happen, I don’t know. I guess we’ll see what happens after that next year, but I’m definitely not planning on going into the next season as it being my last.”

Krejci said that he’s gotten to a point in his life where he understands how lucky he is.

“Not just the situation (with the coronavirus), but the older you get, the more you appreciate everything. Your life changes at home. You’re married, you have kids, so you appreciate all the little things, just being around the guys, being on the road, then being home you just appreciate everything a little bit more than I did before I had kids,” said Krejci. “I’m really enjoying being at the rink every day and being on the road with the guys. I also like being at home, being a dad, a husband. Yeah, I was living the dream before this whole situation happened. But I’m sure we’ll beat this one day and we’ll all go back to our lives.”

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