After being scratched the first four contests, Krug will make his NHL debut tonight at the TD Garden against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I feel like I’m ready – I’m very excited,” Krug said after the Bruins morning skate. “I was one-year-old holding a hockey stick and right when I could walk, I was put up on skates so it’s been my dream as a child and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Since joining the team, Krug said the transition has gone smooth – a true testament to the ultra-receptive Bruins locker room.
“It’s been unbelievable. This is a tough time to come into a locker room right before playoffs, and the guys are playing well,” Krug said. “The greatest teachers have been my teammates.”
However, the players weren’t the only warm-welcoming members in the locker room.
Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said he always takes the extra initiative to make young players feel comfortable.
“One thing I never do is put pressure on the kids,” Julien said when asked what he says to players who are about to make their first NHL appearance. “To me, it’s important that they enjoy their first experience in the NHL. If they come to the rink and they’re nervous and they fearing what’s going to happen, that’s the wrong approach and the wrong attitude.
“And I said, ‘If there’s anything that needs to be corrected, we’ll correct it as we go along. But don’t worry about mistakes, just go out there and do what got you here.’ By the end of the night, you want this person to say, ‘This is a lot of a fun,’ – and that’s what you got to create in those guys playing their first game.”
Julien is also looking forward to the defenseman’s NHL debut because it will give him a fair assessment of Krug’s skills.
“It will be a great experience for him,” Julien said. “And it will be good for us to evaluate him as well to see how far he is in his progression to be an NHL player.”
That said, Julien has no doubt that the 20-year-old former Spartan has what it takes to succeed at the professional level.
“Everybody keeps talking about his size, but what I see is a guy who moves extremely well, passes the puck extremely well and seems to have real good vision,” Julien said. “This guy here, when they say he’s 5-foot-9, he’s a pretty strong individual.
"You look at him, he’s pretty solid and to me he has a lot of qualities we’ve been looking for so it’s an opportunity for him to play and to enjoy it.”