Claude Julien on sticking with Torey Krug: ‘He didn’t lose any confidence’
|06.16.13 at 5:58 pm ET|
There were plenty of sideline coaches suggesting Torey Krug sit Game 2 out after his gaffe in Game 1 that led to Chicago’s second goal and gave the Blackhawks momentum to begin their comeback.
But not Claude Julien.
He stuck with his talented rookie defenseman. And all the justification he needed from Krug was provided early in Game 2.
“Extremely well,” Julien said when asked how he thought Krug handled Game 2. “He didn’t lose any confidence. Again, you look at last night, he pushed the puck up the middle again, was able to come back, nothing came out of it. But, you know, his game continued to go in the right direction.”
“I thought I did play my game pretty well in Game 2, jumping up on the ice when I could, clearing the puck a little bit better,” Krug said. “Basically, there are still some things I can fix but I felt very confident, especially in overtime. We were up in the offensive zone a little bit more than we were the whole game. I felt a lot better.”
The irony is that Krug didn’t lean on a fellow defenseman for support after Game 1. It came from Patrice Bergeron, a forward, and given his propensity for offense, maybe that’s appropriate.
“He’s got the same routine every game,” Krug said. “I have never seen him play a bad game, but if he is having a bad game, I don’t think he changes anything up so that’s important in being a professional. He always goes about his business. He is an unbelievable leader and he does the little things that’s what’s amazing about him.
“I think watching Patrice what’s amazing is that he brings the same level of competition and preparation every game and every skate,” Krug said. “It’s amazing watching him prepare. I said it about him and [Zdeno Chara] as well but those are two guys that you look up to. It’s amazing the preparation and work ethic that they put into this.”
Krug wasn’t on the ice late in the second period when the Bruins finally got the equalizer but his pinch to keep the puck in figured in the goal. He pinched up along the boards and kept the puck in. Eventually, Tyler Seguin would control behind the net before Daniel Paille got a shot on goal. Chris Kelly came in to finish and tie the game, 1-1.
“I thought he was good at moving pucks. I remember just I think before one of the goals, he kept the puck in. He was being pinched. He squeezed along the wall, made a great play, kept it going in the offensive zone.”
Most importantly to Julien, Krug – who plays aggressively as a defenseman – kept playing his style.
“So he doesn’t lack confidence,” Julien said Sunday. “That’s what I want from that young player. Don’t lack confidence. The odd mistake, I know it’s the Cup Finals, but there’s mistakes made in the Cup Finals like anywhere else.
“I thought he handled himself well after some of the heat he was taking from the outside for that mistake in Game 1. We talked about it. I wanted him to go out there and play with the same confidence he always has. He answered that.”