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Behind Enemy Lines: Torey Krug on Jeff Petry

The Bruins defensemen dishes on his former university teammate

by Matt Cudzinowski @canadiensMTL /

Despite engaging in some heated battles on the ice, opposing NHL players often forge enduring friendships away from the rink. We thought it might be interesting, then, to do some reconnaissance in the visitors' dressing room to get an occasional take on a Canadiens player from a friendly foe on another club. Today: Bruins defenseman Torey Krug on his former university teammate, Jeff Petry.

You've known Jeff since your freshman year at MSU. Did you guys become friends right away?
Immediately. My first night on campus, he kind of took me under his wing. He was a good role model for me, the way he played and the way he carried himself in the locker room. He was our captain. He was a good person to always be around. I would go to his apartment pretty much every day after class and after practice to hang out. We have a lot of good memories together. 

Did he take it easy on you as a rookie?
(Laughs) Yeah, he did, actually. There were times where he respectfully had to be tougher on me because I was a freshman and a rookie. He was great for me. He was a good role model and very respectful.

Do you ever remind him that you finished your career at Michigan State with more points than him?
(Laughs) No, I didn't, but mostly because he played on a couple of not great teams while he was there. I know one season he was moving up to forward and back to defense, and things like that. I'm pretty sure they only won two games one year, so I would never do that. 

Do you guys still keep in touch during the season?
Oh yeah, all the time. We text back and forth, see how each other is doing. He had a baby, so I'm always checking in to see how his family is doing.

Jeff comes off as a very shy person. Since you know him really well, is he like that when you guys hang out together?
Not with me. He definitely was when we would meet new people. When I brought him to meet my wife for the first time, he was shy. He's definitely very shy, but he opens up. When we're together, we're always quoting movies and acting like idiots.

Do you guys spend time together during the summer? What do you do when you're just hanging out?
Yeah, we do. I spend most of my time out here in Boston, but when I do go back I always make a point of going to visit him and his wife and baby. He's got a pretty cool house in Michigan on a lake, so it's nice to go see him. I always see him at Michigan State's Pro Camp. We spend that whole week together, which is great, too.

In college, it was more playing video games, watching movies and things like that - quoting movies and just trying to be funny. Now, it's more about relaxing and just hanging out on his lake, drinking some wine and having some laughs. 

We've heard that you were Jeff's best man at his wedding and he was yours when you tied the knot. Was it an easy decision to make on your part?
I actually wasn't the best man, but I was in the wedding. We both stood up at each other's weddings. I think it just speaks volumes about our relationship. It was nice to be a part of it. We're going to be keeping in touch for the rest of our lives. Those are the type of people you want to have standing up with you at your wedding. It was an easy decision for both of us.

Who had the best moves on the dance floor?
(Laughs) Jeff's too shy. He's too shy to get out there on the dance floor. I think we would both give the nod to me on that one.

Has your relationship changed since he started playing for the Habs?
It's still strong. I gave him a heads up that when we're on the ice, we're not friends anymore. (laughs) He knows when we hit the ice, it's all business.

If your wedding was coming up instead of already behind you, could you see yourself having a groomsman who plays for the Canadiens?
It would be tough, to be honest. If we didn't have that relationship previously, I don't know if I would. At the same time, there are things that are greater than hockey, including friendships and marriages. 

We've heard that Jeff was a pretty good baseball player. Could you take him on the diamond?
I don't know how good he was. I've definitely heard the story about how he was scared to tell his dad that he had decided to quit and. But throwing the ball around with him at school, we would always go play catch in the parking lot of his apartment building. I do know that he's got the quite the arm on him and he'd probably be a good first baseman with just how long he is.

What about arm wrestling?
(Laughs) I don't know. We'll have to try that out one night. He's got the height advantage, but I've got the thicker forearms. We'll see. 

Jeff became a dad recently; do you think he'll be more of a goofy dad or a strict one?
He'll be a goofy dad. I think his wife takes more of the enforcer role in the household. He's going to be the fun dad, the one that Boyd goes to when he's looking for the answer that he wants.

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