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The Bruins bring back captain Bergeron and also David Krejci

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins are putting the band back together, signing captain Patrice Bergeron and center David Krejci, both members of their 2011 Stanley Cup team, to one-year contracts on Monday.

Almost three months after leaving the ice with no certainty that he would return, Bergeron signed a one-year deal with the Bruins. A few hours later, the team announced that Krejci, who played last season in his native Czech Republic, will also return for the 2022-23 season.

“Obviously, we’re great friends and we go way back,” Bergeron said in a video conference call with reporters. “I’m really excited to go with him and the rest of the guys as well.”

Bergeron got a $2.5 million deal with $2.5 million in incentives, and Krejci gets $1 million with the potential for $2 million more. Bergeron is fourth on the all-time scoring list for the Original Six franchise with 982 points, and Krejci is ninth with 730.

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“Obviously, I wanted to play. But I wanted to play for the Boston Bruins and that’s because I believe in this team,” Bergeron said. “A historic team is the only motivation you need to leave this jersey in a better place.”

The Bruins also announced a one-year contract for forward Pavel Zacha with a cap hit of $3.5 million. Zacha, 25, scored 15 goals with 21 assists for New Jersey last year; Boston acquired him in the offseason in a trade for forward Erik Haula.

Bergeron, 37, and Krejci, 36, led the Bruins to the 2011 NHL championship and two other trips to the Stanley Cup Final. Boston was eliminated in the first round of this year’s playoffs by the Carolina Hurricanes on May 14 and fired coach Bruce Cassidy three weeks later.

Jim Montgomery was hired to replace Cassidy, and the new coach said in his introductory press conference that Bergeron, a five-time Selke Trophy winner, was his first call-up. Team CEO Charlie Jacobs said Bergeron, who was unsigned and considering retirement, was expected to return.

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“So, fingers crossed,” he said in July.

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“The fire, the desire and the passion were too strong for me to take that path right now,” Bergeron told reporters. “I guess I’m just not ready for the next step in my life. I’ve still got something in the tank. something to give.”

Bergeron has 400 goals and 582 assists in 18 seasons, all with the Bruins, who selected him in the second round of the 2003 draft. Since then, he has established himself as the league’s dominant two-man power forward and one of the game’s most respected players.

When he leaves, the Bruins are expected to retire his No. 37, making him the 12th player so honored. He’ll likely be a first-ballot candidate for the Hockey Hall of Fame as soon as he’s eligible, now it won’t be until at least 2026.

Krejci has 215 goals and 515 assists in 15 years in the NHL – also all with Boston – and led the Bruins in scoring during the 2011 Stanley Cup run with 12 goals and 11 assists in 25 games. Playing for HC Olomouc in his homeland last year, he led the team with 20 goals, 26 assists and 46 points in 51 games.

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Bergeron is third in Bruins history with 1,216 games played, and fourth in goals, assists and points. He is second all-time for the Bruins with 47 playoff goals and 123 points.

Bergeron’s 11 straight seasons as a Selke finalist – including this year – are the longest streak of top-three finishes for an NHL award, breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record of 10 straight as an MVP finalist (Gretzky won the Hart Trophy nine times).

Bergeron played 2021-22 without a future contract for the first time in his career, scoring 25 goals with 40 assists and helping the Bruins reach the playoffs for the 14th time in his 18 seasons. They were eliminated by the Hurricanes in seven games.

Bergeron was the last Boston player to leave the ice in Carolina, leading his teammates down the handshake line and giving each of his teammates a hug. He said that he had not decided on his future.

“That’s probably why this one hurts the most, the unknown for next year with him,” forward Brad Marchand, the second-longest player on the roster, said after the Game 7 loss. “He’s done a lot for this group and sacrificed a lot. It would be nice to give him a good run.”

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Bergeron, Krejci and Marchand are the only players from the 2011 Stanley Cup team remaining on the Bruins’ roster. Longtime captain Zdeno Chara left as a free agent in 2020 and goaltender Tuukka Rask sat out his comeback from hip surgery midway through this season.

The Bruins have David Pastrnak, 25, on offense, Charlie McAvoy, 24, on defense and Jeremy Swayman, 22, in net. Hampus Lindholm, 28, was acquired midseason to bolster the defense, and Marchand remains one of the league’s most dangerous scorers with 33.

Losing Bergeron would be the end of the most successful era in team history since the Big, Bad Bruins of Hall of Famers Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gerry Cheevers and John Bucyk.

“He’s the backbone of our team. He’s obviously the biggest part of our team,” Marchand said after the playoff exit. “So, yeah, we want him back. No matter what, he’s earned the right to make whatever decision he wants and take whatever time he needs.”

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The Bruins bring back captain Bergeron and also David Krejci

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