BostonBruins.com – Torey Krug has been a revelation for the Bruins in their second round playoff series against the New York Rangers. Stepping into the lineup because of a depleted defense corps, the 22-year-old Providence call-up scored a goal each in the first two games of the series – his first two career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
He has been solid in the defensive end, mostly playing alongside Adam McQuaid, and has shown his skills skating with the puck.
With Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andrew Ference on the mend, and Krug and fellow blueliners, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski playing so well, B’s Head Coach Claude Julien and his staff will have some decisions to make on the back end.
But no matter what, Krug will keep things status quo. Until that time comes, he will continue to play his calm, confident game.
“I don't think about it too much,” said Krug. “I'm just kind of focused on my job, which is helping the team win, playing to the best of my abilities, trying to contribute to the team. When those guys come back, the coaching staff makes whatever decision they have to make. I'm fine with whatever.
“That's up to them, I'm going to continue to do the things I'm doing, play with confidence and try to make an impact on each game.”
Each game, Krug’s confidence has grown. He has had the courage to make risky outlet passes from deep in his own zone and has not hesitated to skate the puck up the ice and try to create offense. In Game Three, although he was held scoreless for the first time in the series, he fired a team-high four shots on goal.
“It's amazing,” he said. “Sometimes the more you play, you get into a groove, you feel great out there. The more I get on the ice, the better I feel. It's amazing that the coaching staff shows that much confidence in me.”
The play of Krug, and the other young D-men, has impressed Seidenberg, who has been sidelined since leaving in the first period of Game Seven against Toronto.
“Everybody knew that they could play hockey and they were really good players in the minors,” said Seidenberg. “To have them come up and play with poise, confident hockey; just contributing offensively, as well as defensively is definitely very nice to see.”
Feeling at ease on the ice has had a lot to do with how much Krug’s teammates in the Bruins dressing room have made him feel welcome.
“Even when I first came in to the locker room, I felt really comfortable,” said Krug. “The more minutes you play, the more you contribute to the team, you feel like a bigger part of the team. When you're getting called up and sent down you don't always have that feeling. Now I feel like a big part of the team and hopefully I can keep help contributing.”
Being able to learn from the likes of Zdeno Chara, Boychuk and McQuaid has been essential for Krug as well. He says the most important thing they have taught him is that communication while on the ice is key.
“The big thing is just talking,” said Krug when asked what he has learned from the veteran defenseman. “The more you talk, the easier the game is. Everybody's talking a lot; Zee, Johnny's in my air all the time, Quaider's a more quiet guy, but when we're out on the ice he's yelling and screaming when I have the puck. I think communication is the biggest thing.”
“The game's a lot easier when you're goaltender is talking to you,” added Krug. “Every time I go back for pucks [Tuukka Rask’s] telling me my options, even when I can't see. It's great, he's a very confident, calm, collected goaltender back there. I know I have the ability to take risks that I may not normally be able to take. But I know Tuukka's back there and he's going to make a big save for us.”
It isn't too common that such a young player with less than a dozen games of NHL experience can step into the lineup so seamlessly, not to mention doing it in the middle of a team’s run at the Stanley Cup.
“For a second, you always have to take a step back and kind of take everything in,” said Krug, when asked if he had a ‘wow’ moment before Game Three, realizing he was playing at Madison Square Garden in the playoffs. “Warm-ups, I was looking around, but it was business as usual, getting focused.
“When you're out there playing, you don't really realize anything that's going around.”