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BOSTON (CBS) – Although the Boston Bruins fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Tuesday night, it was a special night for rookie defenseman Torey Krug.
“It was a lot of fun – something I’ll remember forever,” Krug said after making his NHL debut, adding it will probably take a day or two to realize what he had just done.
Krug After Debut:
Krug found out he would suit up for the first time after Monday’s practice. He rushed to let his family know, and all were present at the Garden when Krug stepped on the ice for the first time.
“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,” he said.
It was an emotional game for a 20-year-old that just signed with the Bruins on March 25. He warmed up with the team prior to their two games in New York over the weekend, which helped with his pregame nerves Tuesday night. He also received plenty of advice from his teammates and coaching staff.
“The biggest advice I was given was have fun and be myself,” he said. “You know, 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.”
After 21 shifts and 18:18 of ice time, Krug said he was happy with how he played, but not the result.
“I’m most upset that we lost,” he said. “The expectation here is to win and we have to fine-tune-up before the playoffs.”
His coach thought he did a good job after a making a few early adjustments.
“He handled himself well, you know? I like the way he moved the puck. 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,” said head coach Claude Julien. “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, as I said, totally natural for a guy playing in his first game. But the rest of it — as I said, when he had the puck, didn’t hesitate, thought he moved it well and made great passes.”
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Krug cannot play with the team when the playoffs start next week, but getting on-ice experience now will go a long way in the future.
Of course, he still has to do all the rookie stuff, and likely will next season as well.
“Yeah of course, I’m always picking up pucks – last guy on the ice,” he said with a smile.
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