Boston Bruins forward David Krejci will have a little something to make him feel better when he goes in for surgery today: A 3-year contract worth more than $11 million.

The 23-year-old Czech signed this week just days before he is scheduled to have surgery on a torn hip labrum. Krejci said he hopes to be back for the start of the regular season, but he could miss the first month.

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.

Krejci was due to become a restricted free agent.

Chiarelli also said Phil Kessel, 21, who had shoulder surgery after leading Boston with 36 goals, will begin his rehab tomorrow.


* Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals earned the series' highest cable television rating since 2002. The Pittsburgh Penguins' 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Versus Tuesday night drew a 2.6 rating and averaged 2.96 million viewers. The Red Wings lead the series, 2-1, and Game 4 is tonight in Pittsburgh.

The network said that the rating was up 37 percent from the average for the two games on Versus during last year's series. The channel aired Games 1 and 2 last year; this year it is showing Games 3 and 4 while the first two switched to NBC. *