By Matt Kalman, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — All Torey Krug revealed about his fractured ankle days after last season ended was that he expected to be ready for training camp.
Training camp is here, and Krug is skating.
So the 27-year-old at least fulfilled one goal. But he’s taking it slow, under doctor’s orders. After skating with forward Noel Acciari, who’s still recovering from offseason hernia surgery, before practice for the first few days of camp, Krug (and Acciari) altered that routine Monday by staying on the ice with a portion of the Bruins’ roster at Warrior Ice Arena.
The session was 20 minutes old when both recovering players departed the ice.
“It felt good. It’s kind of the same as last week, just stay on the course of our plan and our schedule and just sort of do the same thing,” Krug said during a brief media interaction after the session was over.
Without knowing specific medical details, one can make an educated guess that slow is the way to go with an injury of this nature. That’s why Krug said the plan is for at least a few more days of briefly skating with his teammates before ending the on-ice portion of his days. It’s also why the Bruins signed John Moore as a free agent and made sure they were as deep as possible on defense under the NHL salary-cap ceiling.
Krug doesn’t have to rush, and he shouldn’t. He came back early from a broken finger in 2014 and had just one point (a goal) in 11 games after his return. He played through a shoulder injury that required surgery after the 2015-16 season and had his worst year with just four goals (as part of his 44 points) in 81 games.
Let’s face it, Krug is a special kind of player that doesn’t have to worry about someone stealing his job while he’s out, even if he stays out into the beginning of the season.
“Yeah, I mean I don’t really see anyone doing my job here,” he said in response to a question about offseason trade rumors, an answer that also would’ve been an appropriate response to a question about where he’ll fit in when healthy.
The Bruins want Torey Krug in their lineup as soon as possible, but they want 100 percent Torey Krug, not whatever that was grinding through the 2014-15 season. They’ve covered themselves for the possibility of missing Krug by signing Moore as an unrestricted free agent and retaining Matt Grzelcyk, who will try to avoid the sophomore jinx like a handful of other teammates entering their second NHL season.
General manager Don Sweeney recognized the value in having legitimate NHL fill-ins when injuries hit or players’ performance slags. That was the theory behind the decision to pay a little more and bring in Jaroslav Halak to back up Tuukka Rask. And it’s the theory behind bringing in Moore. In an Atlantic Division where the best three teams in the conference might be scratching and clawing for divisional supremacy, the Bruins can’t risk having players on the ice that aren’t ready for NHL competition because of where they are in their development, or because they’re not healthy enough to perform at their highest level.
The Bruins have a built-in cushion for Krug to take his time coming back, and his role and his job will be waiting when he’s ready to play.
Krug joked that he looked “like a football player” at points of the offseason because his walking boot limited him to upper-body exercises. If the NHL season was 16 games long, Krug wouldn’t have time to waste getting back in the lineup. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as the cliché proclaimers like to say, and the Bruins are equipped to handle a Krug-less first couple of miles if necessary.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @MattKalman.