Patriots

Krug signs with Bruins, will join team in Boston

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Krug signs with Bruins, will join team in Boston

ANAHEIM The Bruins will get another new face at practice and potentially in games after signing undrafted Michigan State defenseman Torey Krug to an entry level contract. Krug will meet the Bruins when they return back to Boston and will be with the team for Tuesdays morning skate prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Krug will practice and travel with the Bruins and potentially play with them as part of the negotiated deal with the Bruins, so one of his three contracted years will be burnt hanging with the Bruins for the final seven games of the season.

Peter Chiarelli said theres a chance that Krug could get into a game or two with the Bruins, but it could be tough given that his arrival makers nine healthy defenseman on the roster. At 5-foot-9 and 180-pounds Krug is clearly a puck-moving defenseman and power play quarterback, but the youngster wont be available for playoff roster consideration.

If theres a chance to play him I believe he might get a chance. But hes going to skate with the team and go through that experience, said Chiarelli. If circumstances dictate that hell play, and the coach decides hell play, then hell play.

The Krug signing sheds a little light on Bostons decision to trade Russian defenseman Yury Alexandrov to the New York Islanders for future considerations last week a move exacted to make room for Krugs contract on the organizational depth charts. Peter Chiarelli indicated the Bruins are at 49 contracts with a limit of 50 per NHL organization so theres still room to make one more signing prior to the playoffs if the opportunity presents itself.

Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated that the experience of watching Bostons push to the playoffs could be beneficial to a young player like Krug.

I knew it was in the works. Well head home tomorrow and talk to the front office. I havent seen him play, but a lot of good things are being said about this fella. I dont get a chance to watch a lot of college and junior hockey, said Julien. It makes for a lot of players, but you just wish youd had all those players a couple of weeks ago.

Its coming in and sometimes its a little bit of an initiation. Its not a bad thing. They come and spend some time with us, and it makes things a lot easier as far coming in next year. The strength requirements and the routine involved, and getting to know the rest of the guys . . . there are a lot of advantages. Anything that will make a player feel more comfortable headed into next year is a good thing.

Krug recently finished his junior season at Michigan State University after serving as captain for the second straight year.

In 38 games with Michigan State this year, he set career bests in goals (12), assists (22) and points (34) and was named the CCHA Player of the Year and a 2012 Hobey Baker Award Finalist. He led all CCHA defenseman in scoring, was selected as the Best Offensive Defenseman for the second straight season and shared the CCHA scoring crown with Notre Dames T.J. Tynan, becoming the first defenseman to capture a CCHA scoring title since 1986-87. He was also named to CCHAs First Team for the second year in a row.

In 114 career CCHA games at Michigan State, the 20-year-old finished with 26 goals, 57 assists and 83 points. The Bruins also announced that theyve signed former draft picks Zach Trotman and Justin Florek to entry-level deals and theyve already begun playing with the Providence Bruins.

Jags safety says Gronk hit was unavoidable

Jags safety says Gronk hit was unavoidable

FOXBORO -- During the tail end of the season, Rob Gronkowski was probably the league’s most unstoppable skill player. If any team was going to beat the Patriots, it needed to stop Gronk.

The Jaguars stopped Gronk on Sunday. They still didn’t win.

PATRIOTS 24, JAGUARS 20

The Patriots tight end was driven from the game by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church. Gronk, running down the seam on a first-and-10 play with 1:28 left in the half, was hammered by Church, who really didn’t have a lot of options on the play. The throw was too up-for-grabs for Church to ignore the chance of picking it off. And by the time a pick was out of the question, the collision was inevitable.

“I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church explained. “He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball but I gueess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football.  If you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder.”

Gronk was slow to rise and when he did, he was unsteady. Teammate Chris Hogan kept Gronk steady until he got some assistance to the sideline. From there, we was squired to the locker room and into the concussion protocol. He didn’t return.

The hit, the flag and the fact the Patriots would soon score a touchdown to chew into the Jaguars lead caused the inevitable discussion of what Chruch was supposed to do on that play.

Church had the same debate himself.

“It’s tough, that guy s humongous,” said Church. “If you wait for him to catch it and bring it down, he might run you over. You have to go with it and try and hit him in the right target zone but, going 100 MPH, that is nearly impossible.”

Gronk wasn’t spotted in the locker room after the game. He’ll have checkpoints to pass before he’s cleared to play in Super Bowl 52. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

First look at Tom Brady's injured thumb

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First look at Tom Brady's injured thumb

Apparently there was a miscommunication of sorts during Patriots practice this week.

Reports of gushing blood and Brady screaming in pain left many wondering what type of shape Tom Brady was in.

It turned out that he was just fine and ready to go, leading the Patriots to yet another comeback postseason victory.

But a first look at Brady's thumb was finally captured by an Associated Press photographer after tonight's game.

The collision occurred during a handoff and Brady needed 12 stiches, it also injured the collateral ligament in his thumb.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE