BOSTON - Boston Bruins forward David Krejci will have a little something to make him feel better when he goes in for surgery Thursday: A three-year contract worth more than US$11 million.
The 23-year-old Czech signed this week just days before he is scheduled to have surgery on a torn labrum in his hip. Krejci said he hopes to be back for the start of the regular season, but he could miss the first month.
"I would like to return for the first game," he said in a conference call with reporters. "I might miss the first month. We'll see how it goes."
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he wasn't concerned about making a commitment to a player who is about to have surgery.
"He's a young man. He's a hard-working guy. All the indicators from the medical people that we have were positive," Chiarelli said. "You put that in the equation and you make a decision to move forward."
Krejci led the NHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-36 this season and helped Boston to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He also had career highs with 82 games, 22 goals and 51 assists, adding two goals and six assists in 11 playoff games.
"I'm still young," he said. "Every year I can get bigger, stronger faster, and be a better player."
Chiarelli said he was impressed with Krejci's attitude when he was sent to the minors in 2007. Instead of getting upset, he worked at making himself better.
"And he got to be a much better two-way player," Chiarelli said. "He had a breakout year statistically. I think David feels he can still be better and take his game to another level."
Krejci was due to become a restricted free agent.
"This was the place I wanted to play next year," he said. "It's a good deal and I love the city and a place I want to play. So I'm very happy and excited for next year."
Chiarelli signed off the conference call by telling Krejci that he would call him to check in after the surgery. The GM said 21-year-old forward Phil Kessel, who had shoulder surgery after leading Boston with 36 goals, will begin his rehab Friday.