Bruins’ little big man Torey Krug proving he belongs on big stage
|05.20.13 at 9:49 am ET|
Every year, a player comes out of no where to become a big factor in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
That man for the Bruins this year so far is 5-foot-9 Torey Krug.
He did it again on Sunday. He scored the game’s first goal in the first period, beating Henrik Lundqvist. He did it again on the second goal, pinching in from his perch on the left point and firing a shot on goal that led to a rebound that was put away by Gregory Campbell.
Krug has been instant offense at the blue line for the Bruins. For a 22-year-old rookie in his second NHL playoff game, Krug looks like a trusty veteran.
“Yeah, well I’ve said it time and time again, I come into this locker room, very comfortable, calm,” Krug said after Sunday’s 5-2 rout of the Rangers in Game 2. “I get to watch some of the best professionals in the world prepare for games like this, as if it’s any other game. So, I have a lot of guys to lean on and they all give me confidence back. So, it’s unbelievable.”
What is so very striking about Krug is his confidence with the puck. Much like Dougie Hamilton displayed early in the season, Krug looks like he wants the puck at every chance, either rushing up the ice or setting up on the power play. Why is that?
“Well I’m a player. I’m 5-9, I’m not very big, I have to play with the puck to be an impact player,” he answered. “So, for me, you’ve got to be confident with the puck. If I’m not making plays, I’m not going to be effective and guys are going to go out there and they’re just going to find a 6-2 guy that can do the same thing without the puck. So, you just got to be confident and play with the puck.
On his goal, he managed to use his skates to control the puck, setting up the shot on his stick.
“That’s a skill that sometimes you work on it after practice,” he said. “You don’t have to work on it too much. It’s just a couple of extra reps here or there at the end, picking up pucks with your feet. So, it’s just something that I try to do, and I was lucky enough that it bounced my way.”
And his set-up of Campbell’s goal?
“It’s the same thing,” he said. “All that comes with confidence and being calm. If you’re freaking out, out there because the pucks not exactly where it is, you’re going to get yourself in trouble.”
Krug has two goals and an assist so far in two career playoff games. He has just made a routine decision not so for the Bruins coaching staff when Dennis Seidenberg or Wade Redden are cleared to return this series. Which of the three rookie defensemen sit? Krug, Hamilton or Matt Bartkowski?
Whatever the Bruins decide, Krug promised after Game 2 that he’s going to keep playing the way he is, and not worry about the big stage. The coaching staff, led by Claude Julien, has told him to not think about making mistakes, just play.
“I said, ‘Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.’ I don’t want him playing on his heels. In other words, I told him, ‘Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and play your game.’ So that was basically what I told him when he first got here,” Julien said. “I said, ‘You know, I know how good you are, I know what you can bring to this team, just go out there and do it.’ I think it’s important, but the last thing you want to do is get those guys to play on their heels or play afraid to make a mistake.
“Confidence goes a long way in this game. When coaches are able to give players confidence, it shows because it makes a big difference. Instead of a guy making a mistake and looking at the bench every time, seeing if the coach is mad at him or will take away some ice time. You’ve got to let him play, and those guys right now, I give them full credit for taking that advice and showing that they’re very capable of playing in the playoffs and on our hockey club.”