DETROIT – You could tell there was something a little different about the game being in Detroit when Torey Krug flipped a puck high into the stands during warm-ups near where his family and friends were taking in Boston’s morning skate at the brand, spanking new Little Caesar’s Arena. The Bruins defenseman grew up in nearby Livonia, Michigan and Krug comes from a massive hockey family that made regular pilgrimages to Joe Louis Arena to watch the Red Wings play.
So it’s a special occasion anytime Krug returns back to Hockeytown for a game, and there’s still a novelty with the brand new barn that the Wings are playing in this season as well.
“They’re a team that I get really excited to play against, especially coming back to Detroit where you see a lot of familiar faces in the stands,” said Krug, who also played for Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill at the USHL level with the Indiana Ice. “My family gets to come and watch, and I get excited because they can root for us to beat them. I’m really lucky to have a lot of support.
“We’re a hockey family and understand the game, so everybody knows when I play good or bad. It pushes me in the right direction to make sure I’m bringing my best every night, and especially against this team it gives me an extra boost.”
Lately it’s been very good for the 26-year-old Krug, who had to take on greater responsibility when Charlie McAvoy went out of the lineup while recovering from his heart procedure. Krug has two goals and nine points in his last eight games for the Black and Gold, has topped 20 minutes of ice time in three of those games and more importantly is a plus-1 over that span as well.
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In fact, Krug has battled back from a big minus number earlier in the season to now sitting at a dead even plus/minus, and that speaks to how much better he’s been as things have moved along this season. It’s a pattern that his head coach has noticed in the time he’s worked with him both at the AHL level and the NHL level as well, and it’s proving to be true again this season as Krug has moved further away from a broken jaw suffered in preseason.
“He’s been good lately,” said Bruce Cassidy, who referenced something Krug first told him all the way back in Providence five years ago. “He’s always told us that he’s a second-half player, and he’s been true to his word…so good for him.”
Krug hopes it’s again good for him (three goals and 11 points along with a plus-10 in 19 career games against the Wings) and good for the Bruins on another visit back home for a friends-and-family crowd while taking on the Red Wings in Motown.