The Bruins start the 2013-14 National Hockey League season tonight as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. When the puck drops we know the Bruins will have six defensemen dressed, but whom makes up that six is still very much unknown.
We know Captain Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Dennis Sedienberg and Adam McQuaid are all guaranteed to suit up tonight, which leaves two open spots on the Bruins blueline, with three young defensemen in the mix.
One of those three is 22-year old Torey Krug. The Michigan native has appeared in just three regular season games over the course of two years for the Bruins, and has chipped in with two assists.
Krug was activated from Providence by the Bruins just prior to Game 1 of the Bruins Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup with the New York Rangers a season ago, a story that we all remember how it turned out. Fifteen playoff games, and four goals later, Krug’s confidence is as high as ever.
Although his spot in the lineup is not written in stone, it’s more than likely Krug will get the nod tonight as the competition between Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton continues to grow as the regular season begins. Krug wasn’t shy to admit that a little competition is never a bad thing.
One area where Krug really excels is on the power play, an area the Bruins have had huge problems with in the past. Krug’s speed and puck movement skill is something that can only help with the man advantage, something we saw in last year’s Stanley Cup run. Three of Krug’s six points in the playoffs came on the power play.
Even though the building and game play itself won’t be as intense as it was during the Stanley Cup Final last season, Krug knows that in order to stay in the lineup he has to bring that same intensity each night.
“I was fortunate enough to play at the highest level of hockey possible in the Stanley Cup Final and you know obviously we try and bring that intensity to the rink every single day, but the fact of the matter is it’s not intense like that every single day,” said a smiling Krug.
“Like I said it’s the highest level of hockey possible and now it’s a step down, but yet you still have to bring that intensity every day and like I said, make sure you’re here for the long haul.”
Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton are all going to get their chance to play, and show the Bruins management that they deserve to crack the lineup on a nightly basis. Regardless of which two earn the majority of the playing time, it’s going to be fun to watch the future of the Bruins defensive core battle it out.
“We have a great group of guys and what you want to do is come to the rink everyday willing to work and show the coaching staff that you’re here for the long haul and not just a blimp on the screen,” said Krug.
If Krug can pick up where he left off in the playoffs, he will be far from a blimp on the Bruins screen.