David Krejci

Krejci talks about relationship with ‘best friend' Pastrnak

"We hit it off since Day 1."

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Since David Krejci announced his retirement from the NHL on Monday, his Boston Bruins teammates have made it clear how much he meant to the organization. But if there's one player Krejci made a lasting impact on during his tenure, it's David Pastrnak.

Pastrnak debuted with the Bruins as an 18-year-old in 2014-15, Krejci's ninth NHL season. From that point on, they built a close relationship.

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“He’s been my best friend since I got here. I’m really going to miss him,” Pastrnak said in a statement published by the Bruins. “I have so many memories that make me think of him, especially. And that’s the beauty of hockey — I found a friend for the rest of my life … in 20-30 years from now, he’s still going to be my friend and that’s the beauty of the sport.”

Krejci echoed Pastrnak's sentiments while speaking with reporters on Tuesday. The 37-year-old also shared how he approached his role as a mentor for his fellow Czech Republic native.

"We kind of hit it off since Day 1," Krejci said. "I told him that I'd try to help as much as I can, but he's got to ask questions and it's up to him if he really wants to learn or not. And that's what I did from Bergy (Patrice Bergeron) and Savvy (Marc Savard). It's not like they come to you and they'll take your hand in show you around. If you really want to, you keep watching them. If you have a question, you ask and they were more than happy to help. And that's what I tried to do with Pasta.

"Obviously, being from the same country, we hit it off right away. We became best friends I would say, and he just did the rest. He had so much talent. Smart kid, humble kid, and look at him now."

Now entering his 10th NHL season, Pastrnak has blossomed into one of the league's best players. The 27-year-old has tallied 301 goals -- including a career-high 61 last season -- to go with 316 assists for a total of 617 points.

"When he first showed up at 18 years old, we knew he's got skills, he's gonna be a good player. But you can't predict the career he's had," Krejci added

"So I'm really happy for him. He's come a long way. He's been through some tough times. So I wish him all the best. There's one thing he's missing and it's the Stanley Cup. I think he has a good chance with the Bruins, so hopefully they'll get it done soon."

With Patrice Bergeron and Krejci retired, Pastrnak is now the second-longest tenured Bruins player behind only 14-year veteran Brad Marchand. Pastrnak and Marchand are the second- and third longest-tenured Boston athletes with New England Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater (15 years) leading the pack.

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