BOSTON -- While the Bruins lost 5-3 to the Penguins on Tuesday in a game that meant nothing in the standings, the game will always mean something for Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug, who after signing with the team March 25 as a free agent out of Michigan State, made his NHL debut.
Krug, who had 34 points for the Spartans and was named CCHA player of the year this season, was paired with Johnny Boychuk (who left the game with an injury in the third period) and played 21 shifts for 18:18 of ice time and after the game was ecstatic to finally achieve a lifelong dream.
“It was a lot of fun -- something I’ll remember forever,” a smiling Krug said following the game. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the result that we wanted, but it was a lot of fun. I’m not even sure if I realized that yet. It’s something I can’t put my finger on, but hopefully in the next couple of days it will settle in.”
As Krug told the media, it was a hectic day with his family coming to town for the game and plenty of well-wishers lighting up his cell phone.
“I got my whole family here in town and just kind of threw my phone off to the side and didn’t listen to it. It was ringing off the hook,” Krug said. “I had a lot of guys at Michigan State watching the game tonight.”
But at the advice of the coaching staff, Krug did his best to block out everything and treat the game like any other and most of all have fun.
“The biggest advice I was given was have fun and be myself,” Krug said. “When it comes down to it, it’s just another hockey game and it’s just a level higher. All the guys said, ‘Have fun, you’re going to remember this for the rest of your life,’ and I think I did that.”
Coach Claude Julien said he thought his rookie rearguard did a solid job of enjoying the moment and, as the game went on, not thinking too much.
“I thought he handled himself well. I like the way he moved the puck,” Julien said of the Hobey Baker Award candidate. “I think everybody who knows the game realized that he’s a good puck-mover, his mobility was obvious, and the only thing I would tell you is that you could see him in the defensive zone really thinking about trying to play within our system, and sometimes he was maybe just a fraction of a second delayed, which is totally normal, but once he knew what he had to do, he went.
So there was no hesitation once his mind was made up, and that will only get better as it becomes second nature, and that’s totally natural for a guy playing in his first game.”