The Stanley Cup Playoffs always provide some interesting aspects in and of itself. But one thing in particular that is inspiring are the callups - whether it’s from the juniors, AHL or NCAA - that fill roster spots for their respective teams in the postseason.
In 2010, Habs defenseman PK Subban joined that list, while Rangers forward Chris Kreider made a name for himself during last year’s postseason run. Both Subban and Kreider helped their respective squads reach the Eastern Conference finals.
There's another name that can be added to that list of unsung heroes. And that person is Torey Krug.
Spending most of the 2013 campaign in Providence, Krug played a vital role and helped the Baby B’s post the best record in the American Hockey League. He stuck around with Providence for its first round victory over Hershey. But before Game 3 of the P-Bruins' second round series against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Krug was called up by Boston to fill one of the slots on the blue-line due to injuries from Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg, who returned to the lineup for Game 5 Saturday afternoon.
It’s safe to say that Krug has exceeded expectations. The former Michigan State Spartan, who had three career regular season games with the Black and Gold prior to the playoffs, scored his fourth goal in his first five postseason games at 3:48 of the second period.
After a series of blunders cost the Bruins in Game 4, Krug’s power play tally sparked the Black and Gold in their 3-1 series clinching victory in Game 5.
“It’s a great feeling,” Krug said about contributing in the second round. “I’m glad we closed it out tonight in front a great crowd. It was so loud in there, I could barely hear myself think sometimes. It was a great experience.”
The Bruins move on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even if Redden and Ference heal from their respective injuries, there’s no denying that Krug is making his case to stay in the lineup.
Claude Julien gave the 22-year-old defenseman a vote of confidence afterwards.
“You always hope that guys can come in and help your team out. And there’s no doubt that he was magic for us in this series,” said the sixth-year Bruins coach. “To score that many goals and to show the confidence that he’s showed in playing in this series is pretty outstanding. He’s a player that we always felt good about in our organization and he’s shown what he’s all about. He has ice in his veins and that’s what we got.”
Krug, who was given the nickname "Freddy" by Shawn Thornton afterwards, is just one of many assets the Bruins used in the series. While the top two lines improved in round two, the B’s relied more on the defenseman contributing on the scoresheet this time around.
At 5-foot-9, Krug’s height might make him a physical liability to some. But he certainly makes up for it with his offensive ability.
“I have to do things like that if I want to stick around in this league. If I’m not going to be scoring or making an impact in the offensive zone, I’m not going to be sticking around. They’re just going to find a bigger guy who can do those things,” Krug said about being a goal-scorer. “Hopefully I can continue, and like I said, I’m just trying to contribute any chance I get.”
When he signed with the Bruins after completing his collegiate career in East Lansing, Krug wanted to go to a contender. His development has been nothing short of amazing.
Fourteen months after signing his entry-level contract, Krug is living the dream in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“It’s been a crazy year,” Krug said. “When I signed, I chose Boston for this reason. I wanted to win a Stanley Cup. I knew that they were expected to win the Stanley Cup year after year, and I knew that we were going to be in contention every year.
“I’m glad that I just got the opportunity to come in, step in and contribute, and try to help the team win. It’s been an unbelievable year, that’s for sure.”
The author is solely responsible for the content.