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Krug: "Boston Has Become A Part of My Life"

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins

BOSTON Torey Krug grew up in a hockey hotbed.

He knew what it was like to live in a city and a region enthralled with the game.

Krug’s hometown of Livonia, Mich., sits just 20 minutes west of Detroit – prime Red Wings territory and smack dab in the middle of Hockeytown’s reach.

So when he arrived in Boston as a 20-year-old, fresh out of Michigan State, Krug had high expectations for hockey culture.

It did not take long for those expectations to be trumped.

“I knew that Boston people were hard-working. They work for what they get and they earn it,” Krug said after signing a new four-year contract with the Bruins on Thursday afternoon.

“They’re very deeply involved and tied to their sports teams. But what I didn’t know was how big of a hockey town it is. I grew up in Detroit, which is nicknamed Hockeytown, but going through the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Finals, it really spoke volumes to me.

“And the passion that the fans have for hockey out here and the way the game is, with all the college teams…It seems to be a different culture out here.”

Boston has become engrained in Krug in just four short years.

“I’ve fallen in love with the city,” said Krug, who remains in Boston during the offseason. “My wife loves it, I love it. I named my dog Fenway…I didn’t want to have to change my dog’s name. It’s just an amazing city. We have a beautiful home.

“There’s nothing we would like to change at this point in our lives. I think it’s a testament to the organization and all the people, being surrounded by great people. I think that’s a big part of it.”

Krug, now 25 years old, was set to become a restricted free agent Friday and the Bruins were eager to make sure that he remained in the Black & Gold for years to come. The sides came to terms on a four-year contract worth $5.25 million per year through the 2019-20 season.

“I’ve got to thank the Jacobs family, Cam Neely and Don Sweeney, and the rest of the Bruins organization for this opportunity,” said Krug, who revealed he is feeling great after offseason shoulder surgery and is pushing to be ready for Opening Night.

“I think this is an unbelievable opportunity that I’ve worked for and dreamed of my entire life. I’m humbled and blessed to be able to wear the Spoked-B for four more years. I’m fully committed and excited that I can move on to my next goal of accomplishing bringing back the Stanley Cup to this organization and this city.”

Krug has become an integral piece of the Bruins core over the last few seasons, something general manager Don Sweeney had in mind while thinking about the future of the organization.

“As a young player who is invested in the Boston Bruins organization, he wants to win, he does things the right way every time he comes to the rink. He wants to get better; he’s not satisfied,” said Sweeney.

“Torey has really been identified as an emerging part of our core leadership group. I think he’ll help tremendously to help all of our young players that hope to fall in similar fashion with the success that he’s had up to this point.

“We have a lot of work to do in front of us and Torey’s going to help us get back to where we want to be in trying to win a Stanley Cup each and every year. We’re very, very excited to have him.”

The 5-foot-9, 186-pound defenseman, who signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in March of 2012, has always been motivated to prove the doubters wrong. When he first burst onto the scene during Boston’s 2013 run to the Stanley Cup Final, he was looked at as more of an offensive sparkplug.

Now, Krug is focused on rounding out his game to become a more dependable player in all three zones.

“It was no secret that moving on in my career I wanted to be a bigger part of the team and obviously become more serviceable in different parts of the game,” said Krug. “And I think the one I really wanted to focus on is becoming a more reliable component of the team and every time I touch the ice that my teammates and my coaching staff know what they’re getting out of me.

“There were definitely times last year where I had to learn and I’m going to continue to learn. I’m 25 years old and my game is only growing. I’m continuing to be hungry and always try to improve.”

While Krug was keen on growing his defensive skills in 2015-16, he ended up producing the highest offensive totals of his career with 40 assists and 44 points. The 40 assists were ninth among NHL defensemen. His four goals were the lowest of his career, but Sweeney expects that number to rise again next season.

“To step up into two extra minutes of ice time in the course of a night is a lot. He welcomed the challenges,” said Sweeney.

“But we don’t expect him to only score four goals next year. We think he pops up and scores back into the 14 range that he’s had. We’re just excited.

“You realize the more he’s on the ice, the more we control the puck and move the puck. We understand where the game is going and he’s a big part of the transition game as I mentioned earlier.

“It’s a great challenge and it’s one that he’s readily wanted and advocated for. He stepped up and filled, in a lot of ways, above and beyond.”

Above and beyond.

Just like what Boston has been to Krug.

“I fell in love with Boston immediately when I was called up to play in the [2013] playoffs and the run we had that year,” said Krug. “It was something that I was so deeply involved in, you kind of take a step back and look at it and appreciate it.

“That’s what I did and I realized that the people in Boston are unbelievable fans. The city, as beautiful as it is – you could feel the heart and soul of it.

“The Boston Bruins are a big part of it. It’s become a part of my life.”

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