Torey Krug taking unlikely shot at Stanley Cup in stride
|06.12.13 at 2:02 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Usually, the Stanley Cup marks the end of a long journey from a group of guys who have spent the whole season with that gigantic trophy in mind. Even if a player was acquired at the trade deadline, his attention shifted in the regular season from winning it with one team to winning it with another.
Torey Krug is in a different situation. After playing essentially the whole season in Providence, Krug’s mindset less than a month ago was winning the Calder Cup as the AHL’s top team. Yet here he is, a contributor on a team that is four games away from the Cup, and the 22-year-old blueliner admits that he never even thought about the Cup this season. After all, why would he?
“I worked all season toward the regular season championship down there,” Krug said after Wednesday’s morning skate. “I obviously want to put myself in a position to compete in the National Hockey League, and now that I’m here, you’re always working towards [the Stanley Cup]. Every team has that in sight. I’m just trying to contribute every game here.”
Krug obviously has contributed. Stepping in due to injuries on the blue line for the second round against the Rangers, Krug became the first defenseman in NHL history to score four goals in his first five playoff games. His performance earned him a concrete spot in Boston’s lineup, as he took Wade Redden‘s spot once the veteran defenseman was healthy and contributed a pair of assists and a plus-2 rating in the Bruins’ sweep of the Penguins.
Now that he has the chance to win the Cup on a team for which he played just one regular season game this year, Krug is grateful for where he is at this point in his career. Tyler Seguin said Tuesday that he didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to be in the Cup finals two years ago as a rookie, but Krug isn’t letting the fact that he’s young confuse him about just how special an opportunity he has.
“I haven’t gone through something like this before, so those feelings will arrive when they come, but as far as understanding that it is rare — there’s guys that obviously haven’t made it to a Cup final through their whole careers — obviously [Jaromir Jagr] has waited a long time to get to the position where he is right now,” Krug said. “I understand how rare it is, but the emotions and the feelings will come afterward.”
Emotions aren’t a big part of the undersized defenseman’s game. The young Steve Zahn lookalike is Johnny Boychuk-like in that he’s outgoing but calm at the same time. Matt Bartkowski, who played with him in Providence, predicted every bit of this success when the B’s called Krug up because he knew the pressure of the Stanley Cup playoffs wouldn’t get to him. Krug himself says he can’t remember the last time he was nervous.
“I don’t really sit in the locker room or get sick to my stomach,” Krug said. “My heart’s not beating too fast. Maybe the first couple shifts I’m a little jittery here and there, but I never sit there. You hear of guys puking before games and stuff like that, but my nerves are pretty calm.”
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