The Czech Republic aren’t exactly what one would call tournament favorites as the World Cup approaches, and their chances of surprising some teams and making a serious run at taking home the tournament title may have taken a serious hit as Boston Bruins center David Krejci says he’s not sure he’ll be able to play.
Krejci, 30, has dealt with a number of injuries over the past few seasons, including knee and hip ailments that have kept him out of action. And this past April, in an attempt to heal up his left hip, Krejci went under the knife to have the injury repaired, but that came with an expected five-month recovery time.
According to NHL.com’s Matt Kalman, Krejci said that if he would have been asked about his status for the World Cup following the surgery he would have said he would be healthy in time to go. But now? Well, now Krejci isn’t no certain.
“Right now I just want to get to 100 percent,” Krejci said. “And if I’ll be ready, then that would be awesome. But if not, you have to do what you have to do to be 100 percent.”
Kalman reported that Krejci has been back on the ice for two weeks now, but that’s not a lot of time given the World Cup training camps are set to begin next week and the tournament is roughly two and a half weeks away from its start date. That doesn’t give Krejci much time to get up to game speed for the tournament.
“I’m in contact with the national team coach and we talk pretty much every week,” Krejci told Kalman. “They’re asking about my updates, so we kind of know what’s going on. I’m sure they have some backup plan if that’s not going to work out, so we’ll see what happens.”
To be without Krejci at the World Cup would take a major piece out of their offense and leave them with few options for a suitable, high-scoring replacement. In fact, there may not be a player who could fill Krejci’s shoes at the tournament.
Already the Czech Republic have dug deep to get some young talent on their roster, and Krejci’s absence could mean a player such as Andrej Nestrasil, a young winger who plays bottom-six minutes for the Carolina Hurricanes, could be the best possible replacement. However, Krejci is trying to ensure the Czech squad doesn’t need to go searching for a replacement.
“This is a pretty big tournament and I would love to be a part of it,” Krejci told Kalman. “But at the same time, if I’m not 100 percent then I’m not going to feel bad. I just want to get 100 percent and play my best hockey.”
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.