bruins notebook

Bruins to open 2020-21 season in Czech Republic against Nashville

David Pastrnak (center) and David Krejci (right) grew up in the Czech Republic.
David Pastrnak (center) and David Krejci (right) grew up in the Czech Republic. Winslow Townson/Associated Press/FR170221 AP via AP

DETROIT — For the second time in three years, the Bruins next September will head overseas for a portion of training camp and then open their 2020-’21 regular season in the Czech Republic — home to Black and Gold forwards David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

The NHL announced early Friday afternoon that four clubs, including the Bruins, Predators, Avalanche, and Blue Jackets will open their seasons across the Atlantic in the continuation of the league’s popular Global Series.

The Bruins, who played two exhibition games in China in Sept. 2018, will face the Predators in Prague in what will be the season opener for both clubs. The Avalanche and Jackets will play their first game of the 2020-’21 season in Helsinki.

Neither Krejci nor Pastrnak, currently the league’s No. 1 goal scorer, grew up directly in Prague, but both are proud Czechs eager to return home again to play while wearing their NHL colors.

“Growing up in Czech, it was my dream to play in the NHL,” noted Krejci, who left Sternberk, Czechia, 15 years ago to begin play in the Quebec League, just weeks after the Bruins selected him in the 2004 draft. “To be able to play in more NHL games in Europe means a lot to me personally.”

The Bruins played their season opener in Prague in 2010, losing to the Coyotes, and finished the season by winning the Stanley Cup in Vancouver, ending a 39-year championship drought.

A face in the crowd that day at the O2 Arena in Prague: a 14-year-old Pastrnak from Havirov, a village in eastern Czechia, very near the Polish border.

“The passionate fans and the atmosphere were something I’ll never forget,” recalled Pastrnak. “I can’t wait to feel that energy again.”

The Bruins will begin their Sept. 2020 training camp in Brighton, per usual, then late in camp will move to Mannheim, Germany, some 50 miles south of Frankfurt along the Rhine River. Prior to shifting to Prague, they’ll face Adler Mannheim in an exhibition game at SAP Arena.

The Predators will camp down first in Bern, Switzerland, and play an exhibition game there before shifting to Prague.

A fearless game

No telling what team Torey Krug, an unrestricted free agent next July 1, will play for next year. But the favorite son of Livonia, a suburb just northwest of downtown Detroit, has an unabashed booster in Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

Blashill was coaching the USHL’s Indiana Ice when Krug reported there as an undrafted 17-year-old. Blashill personally recruited him.

“Torey’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached,” said Blashill. “One of the favorite people I’ve been around. He made our team out of camp. He was my first call after [the USHL] draft . . . he wasn’t drafted. He’s always played with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, like he has something to prove. I think he still does. But he’s always had unreal swagger. He just goes out. You want to talk about playing fearless. He plays fearless. I thought he was the best Bruin last year in Game 7 of the [Cup] Final because he was fearless, but smart, too. He makes plays. He’s always done it and he continues to do it. I’m a huge fan of his.”

The 5-foot-9-inch Krug has talked often over the years about playing with a chip on his shoulder, in large part because, as a diminutive player, he felt he had to play that way for coaches to notice his game.

“Survival mode,” Krug said here late Friday morning, when asked what helped him develop his fearless style. “If I was scared to make mistakes, I wouldn’t make it to the next level — they’d just find a bigger guy who could play the same way and just fill a spot. So I think it was just trying to survive in this game and move from level to level.”

The style comes with risk, and risk often can turn into big mistakes, but Krug rarely gets caught on the wrong side of the puck, often able to negate mistakes because of his exceptional skating.

“It’s a big part of my game today,” he explained. “Even when I make a mistake, I’ll go out there and try to make that same play the next time — as long as it’s not egregious. Just try to be that guy that brings a swagger to a team.”

More and more, particularly at the youth and amateur levels, coaches are intolerant of risk-takers. USA Hockey in recent years has encouraged coaches to draw out player skill in small-area workouts, in hopes that the drills will develop more creativity and encourage players and coaches not to be as robotic, or system-driven, in games. Krug feels such creativity and risk-taking often is discouraged at the NHL level.

“I think it gets beat out of guys at this level, to be honest,” said Krug. “Those guys that are bubble guys, trying to make it to the NHL. They are in survival mode and trying not to make many mistakes. They don’t want to lose the trust of the coaching staff if maybe they’re just getting called up to play in one game. Now all of a sudden they are playing it safer because they’re just trying to make it to the NHL, and trying to keep that spot. Then you see the impact guys, the guys that are fearless and they are trying things that maybe the normal guy wouldn’t. They end up being the guys that make bigger impacts.”

Tipped in?

Krug was credited with Boston’s second goal, but the feeling in the Boston room was that Krug’s shot was tipped in by Patrice Bergeron. Look for a change in scoring. However, Pastrnak was credited with a second assist on the goal. If the switch is made to Bergeron, Krug and Krejci will get the helpers. Pastrnak then would see his point streak snapped at 13 games . . . Coach Bruce Cassidy said there may be another callup from AHL Providence if Brett Ritchie remains out with illness prior to Sunday’s game vs. Philadelphia. However, both Par Lindholm and Joakim Nordstrom have been practicing of late, so one might be able to fill the void if necessary . . . If Krug’s goal is not awarded to Bergeron, the Bruins will have had a goal from a defenseman in six of their last seven games. Back liners only scored twice in the first nine games of the season.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com.