BostonBruins.com - Around this time last summer, the BostonBruins.com website and TV crew took a #BearTracks trip to visit Torey Krug in Connecticut, before hitting the Toronto circuit.
The blueliner had played two NHL games with Boston, after finishing his college hockey career at Michigan State. We took in his workout, as he was building his strength and building towards his first pro season.
"The Keiser Runner" was on the agenda. It's something NHLers often use in their training, and you likely won't find one who actually enjoys it.
So, when I caught up with the defenseman about his training and mindset heading into the season, I wanted to see how that exercise was going this time around.
"That was the second to last thing I did during the week, and it absolutely destroyed me again. That thing is unbelievable," laughed Krug.
The machine is designed for athletics to train the lower body for power, using speed and resistance (Exhibit A: go to the :38 mark of this video from last summer and see below for a photo).
The Keiser Runner is just one small part of his summer training, but it demonstrates the focus that Krug said he puts on his speed and agility. Being a smaller defender, he must compensate in those areas. Fast skaters like Daniel Paille and David Krejci put emphasis on those areas in the summer as well; it helps keep those muscles active that power their stride.
"When I’m concentrating on getting stronger and making sure I’m flexible and agile, I think one thing that's really important for the style of game that I play is my explosiveness," said Krug.
"Those first two or three steps out of the corner or a race for the puck and when other team dumps the puck in the zone and I’m racing, my first two or three steps have to be really explosive."
Where he lacks in size, the blueliner picks up in speed, evidenced by winning puck battles in the corners, his ability to push the pace up ice, and his quick movements on the power play.
"That's built doing Olympic lifts like hang cleans and a lot of jumps," has said, of building up his power. "I’ve been spending a lot of time doing jumps this summer."
"Obviously, when you get on the track, running your sprints, doing interval training with that is definitely also really important. I’d say generally just explosiveness is something I’ve been really concentrating on this summer."
Krug has been back and forth, training in his native Michigan with Jeff DiPerna, and also spending time at Prentiss Hockey in Connecticut, where he skated with a slew of NHL players who train there in the summer - Marty St. Louis, Max Pacioretty, Brad Richards and Cam Atkinson, to name a few. The Bruin was able to use it as a measuring stick to see where he was compared to other players around the league.
"It's been a lot better this summer," the defenseman said of his approach to training this offseason. "Because now I have a full year of professional hockey under my belt and I understand the ins and outs of the pro hockey lifestyle. So I know what’s important and I know what actually isn’t as important to make sure I’m ready for the season."
"The summer’s been great so far," added Krug. He's also counting down the days until camp kicks off in a few weeks. "So I’m going to continue to do what I do [with training]. I’m just lucky enough that I was able to learn so much my first season to make sure I’m better prepared going into camp this year."