- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The start of the season was a strong one for Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, and because of that early success his name was mentioned as a possibility for Team USA at the Winter Olympics. But as this season has progressed, Krug is still developing and he was not named to the roster.
“I kind of expected that. I really never thought I had much of a sniff,” Krug said. “I’ve been so focused on what’s going on here with the Bruins, and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs individually, and I’m trying to get out of those downs as fast as I can. I’ve just been focused on the Bruins and not much else. If you do get the [Olympic] call it’s pretty special, a pretty unique experience, I’m sure, and not many people get to do it. It would’ve been cool, but I didn’t expect much.”
In the midst of his first full season in the NHL, Krug is experiencing the normal growing pains that come with playing at this level.
From a statistical standpoint, the 22-year-old blueliner has eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points, including a plus-2 rating in 40 games. He’s played well, but defensively there are areas in which he has struggled.
“[Krug] still has a lot to learn and still has to improve,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
Julien added that both Krug and fellow defenseman Matt Bartkowski have earned their opportunity in Boston.
“Those are young defensemen that are good enough to play here, but just because you’re good enough to play here doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement,” Julien said. “We’re happy with their play, but certainly we’re going to stay on them to continue to improve them just like every other player on this team.”
Krug made significant contributions during the Stanley Cup playoffs last spring. Due to a rash of injuries to Boston’s blue line, the Bruins recalled him from Providence and Krug quickly made his mark, adding plenty of offense from the back end.
Entering his first full season in the NHL, Krug knew he would deal with the typical ebbs and flows.
"If I thought everything was going to be pretty and beautiful I’d be completely wrong,” Krug said. “There’s going to be ups and downs, whether you’re a 20-year player in the league or first-year player, you’re not going to experience highs every night. There are going to be bad nights and it’s about minimizing those and how you respond to those.
“I haven’t been playing poor hockey, I’ve been playing pretty good, but it seems there might be that one play, the one errant pass that might get away from me, so for me it’s about focusing every single shift. There’s not a shift you can take off, whether you’re out against top guys in the league or fourth-line guys, because everyone can play the game of hockey and score goals. They take turnovers and they run with it, so it’s just about minimizing that one play that seems to come back and haunt me.”
8dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur
44dKyle Brasseur, Special to ESPNBoston.com