Stanley Cup Notes: Bruins’ Krug Goes From Minors to Finals
Boston Bruins left wing Daniel Paille, right, shoots as he collides with Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook during the third period of Game 1 in their NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey series on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period of Game 1 in their NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey series on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Chicago — It was only a few weeks ago that Torrey Krug was an unknown minor leaguer. Now, he has the NHL buzzing.
The 22-year-old defenseman has come up big for the Bruins in the playoffs and has a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup, a rocket-like rise for an undrafted player who appeared in just one regular-season game.
“There are guys who obviously haven’t made it to a Cup finals through their whole careers,” Krug said.
Yet here he is, making big contributions for a team eyeing its second championship in three years. He ranks third among defensemen in the playoffs with four goals and has six points in just nine postseason games.
Not bad, particularly given that his only appearance during the regular season was against Montreal on March 27.
For what it’s worth, he had an assist in that game.
Signed in March 2012 after going undrafted out of Michigan State, Krug spent most of the season at Providence of the AHL and emerged as a key contributor for Boston’s top minor league affiliate. He had 13 goals and 32 assists in 63 regular-season games while leading Providence to the best record in the AHL. Then, he contributed three assists in seven playoff games before being called up last month.
“I was pretty focused on our playoffs in Providence,” Krug said. “I was focused on the job we had to do there. For me, I really wasn’t thinking about (the Stanley Cup).”
Suiting Up: Brandon Bollig played in three games in the Chicago Blackhawks’ first-round series against Minnesota, and that was it for a while.
He practiced and tried to stay ready while Chicago eliminated Detroit and turned away Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals.
Now the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup finals, and Bollig is back as well with the Bruins in town for the first two games.
“Sitting out a good stretch of games there in the playoffs is never easy, but it kind of comes with the territory of my role,” Bollig said, “and I couldn’t be more excited to get going. It’s kind of something you dream of as a kid to play in the Stanley Cup final and I’m pretty pumped to live that dream.”
With Bollig in the Game 1 lineup for the first time since May 5, it looked like Viktor Stalberg was out. Stalberg had no goals and three assists in 15 playoff games.
“I can’t really get too down or too upset or too frustrated about it,” Stalberg said. “There’s two weeks left in the year. I’m going to try to win it. It’s as simple as that. I think if I’m playing, I’m playing; if I’m not, I’m not. You can’t do much about that right now.
“Even when I was playing, it felt like I wasn’t playing at times. It’s what it is, obviously frustrating. But at the end of the day, it’s two more weeks and hopefully have a Cup here. That’s all that matters.”
Stalberg is eligible for free agency after the season and was noncommittal when asked about re-signing with Chicago.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Bollig puts a more physical presence in the lineup, but he has one career goal in 50 games in the NHL. His only point came when he scored against Phoenix in last year’s playoffs.
“Obviously, they’re a big, rough tough team,” he said of the Bruins.
“They play physical and I’m looking to maybe counter that with my game and provide that physical presence and maybe that safety for some of our more skilled guys to go out there and play their game.”
Jagr’s Influence: Boston acquired Jaromir Jagr in a trade with Dallas on April 2. He has no goals and seven assists in 16 playoff games, but the 41-year-old forward also has played a significant role off the ice.
Bruins center Tyler Seguin, who turned 21 in January, said he has learned from Jagr’s attention to small details.
“Whether it’s little details about his game or little details about his stick or anything like that, he’s very particular in that,” Seguin said, “and he talks to me all the time about little things, whether it’s just about my stick or my game.”
Jagr shed some light this week on his style when it comes to passing along his knowledge to his teammates.
“You learn every day,” he said. “You learn more if you have great players around you who have been in this situation before. It’s not, come sit next to you and learn everything you know. It’s by watching you.”
Emery Ready: Ray Emery teamed with Corey Crawford to form one of the best goalie tandems in the league this year for the Blackhawks.
Emery had a sparkling 17-1 record this season with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. But the 30-year-old veteran was slowed by an unspecified lower body injury at the end of the season and it’s been all Crawford in the playoffs.
Emery, who has played for four teams in parts of nine NHL seasons, said it’s all part of the job.
“It’s great to be a part of a good team, a successful team,” Emery said. “That’s kind of the job I’ve had for a few years now, is just being ready if there’s an opportunity to get in there or being out there and taking shots for guys. You know, I’ve enjoyed the ride in the playoffs.”