But the insults only motivated him and kept him hungry towards reaching his dreams – which came true Saturday when the Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced they signed the 5-foot-9 defenseman to an Entry Level contract.
Krug, who opted to skip his senior season at Michigan State University, arrived in Boston Monday and will suit up with the team for Tuesday’s morning skate.
But just because he’s here in Boston, Krug is hardly convinced his work is done.
“Every time somebody even mentions [my size] I put it in the back of my mind and it serves as motivation to me,” Krug said. “The fact that I finally did sign an NHL contract makes it seem a little bit better, but the minute I become content and satisfied with the fact that I am here, that’s the minute that I’m going to stop getting better and that’s the minute all the naysayers become correct.
“So, I have to make sure I’m not content just being here, and I want to contribute to the Boston Bruins organization and their winning ways, and that’s the main reason I came here.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for Krug to leave the Spartans. The two-time captain had just earned the CCHA Player of the Year award, as well as the award for the Best Offensive Defensemen for the second-straight season.
His 12 goals and 22 assists were career highs, and his 29 conference points earned him a share of the CCHA scoring title with Notre Dame’s T.J. Tynan.
“Michigan State is what I breathe, it’s what I gave everything for,” Krug said. “I was surrounded by Spartans everywhere – my family, my friends, my teammates – everywhere I looked it was green and white. It was difficult to leave something that you’ve known so well for three years, and they’ve been the best three years of my life so far.”
But now, Krug is ready to give everything he has to the Black & Gold.
“It was tough, but in the end the opportunity that the Bruins organization has provided for me – I think there’s no way to go back,” he said.
Despite all of his accolades, there’s one important lesson that Krug learned while he was a Spartan – one that weighs heavier than any trophies he’s won.
“I can’t take on the world,” Krug admitted. “I’m 5-foot-9 and reality speaks, and physics speak that I might not be able to go in the corner with a 6-foot-4 forward and out-power them.
“But at the same time, I’m extremely competitive…so I have to be careful with that. I have to rely on other people like my teammates, and sometimes less is more. I have a tendency to try help my team too much by doing more things, and at this level if I do less and rely on my teammates more and I think it will go a long way.”
Krug’s competiveness will serve him well when he joins the Bruins tomorrow. With eight defensemen on the roster, there is no guarantee he will land a spot in the lineup before the season’s end.
But that’s a challenge he’s accepted, and he’ll address it the same way he’s tackled every other challenge in his hockey career.
“Just like everything else I’ve done in my life – I’ll have to work for it,” Krug said. “I think if you earn something, it feels a lot better when you’re doing it.
“I just want to go into [Tuesday] when I first get on the ice with the guys, and have the attitude that I’m going to work hard and want to push the rest of my team and I really want to help the organization and I’m just going to do my best. If they call on me to play in a game, I’ll be ecstatic and I’ll look forward to it.”