Bruins

Red-hot Krug looking for another successful trip home vs. Wings

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Red-hot Krug looking for another successful trip home vs. Wings

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.

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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.

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Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

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Rangers hire David Quinn away from BU as new head coach

In what is becoming a growing trend, a National Hockey League team has dipped into the collegiate ranks to find its next head coach. After a successful five-year stint as Jack Parker’s successor at Boston University, David Quinn has been named the 35th coach of the New York Rangers.

Quinn reportedly received a five-year contract to oversee a plan to reload the Blueshirts roster.

In that respect Quinn is perhaps the perfect choice for the Rangers -- a young, enthusiastic coach that excels in the teaching aspect of the game with young player. He posted a 105-67-21 record in his five seasons with the Terriers while developing young NHL talent like Jack Eichel, Charlie McAvoy and Clayton Keller. Quinn didn’t win a national title at Boston University but did finish as college hockey’s runner-up in his second season, losing to Providence College in the 2015 NCAA title game.

Leaving BU for New York had to be a difficult choice for the 51-year-old Cranston, R.I., native, given that the BU job probably could have been a lifetime gig (as it was for the legendary Parker before him). But there were certainly things about the Rangers job that Quinn couldn’t pass up, among them the prestige of coaching an Original Six team and also where familiar faces like Jeff Gorton and Chris Drury are part of the management team. Being able to compete head-to-head against his good friend Mike Sullivan, the coach of the Penguins, certainly didn’t hurt either.

Quinn expressed all of those mixed emotions in a statement released by BU when New York made his hiring official on Tuesday.

“I’m incredibly excited for this new challenge, but leaving a job like this is very hard to do,” he said. “BU is a special place that has given me so much, not only as a player and a student, but also as a coach. The lifelong friendships I’ve developed here over the years absolutely mean the world to me.

“I was so fortunate to work with the very best in athletic director Drew Marrochello and senior vice president Todd Klipp. BU hockey has always been bigger than the coach and they will bring in an outstanding one to continue the winning tradition here.”

Quinn is the latest in a new movement by NHL teams to pluck their coaches from the college ranks, which is producing so many quality players these days. The Flyers kicked it off in hiring Dave Hakstol away from the University of North Dakota a couple of years ago, and earlier this month the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery away from the University of Denver after the Rangers initially showed interest.

It will be interesting to see where Boston University goes next. The Terriers have a wide swath of hockey-playing alumni to choose from, and people like Bruins assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo could also be candidates list if they wanted a college job.

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Morning Skate: Look for Lightning strike in Game 7

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while we’re almost ready for Stanley Cup Final time.

*Who is going to step up in Game 7 between the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to play in the Stanley Cup Final? Put my money on Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Bolts, but don’t sleep on Brayden Point either. That dude has been awesome in this postseason for Tampa Bay. Make sure to check out all the action tonight (8 p.m.) on NBCSN where Game 7’s are treated with the proper gravitas and import.

*Interesting piece from Pittsburgh columnist Ron Cook, who says part of Pittsburgh’s downfall this spring had to do with a “sour relationship” between Phil Kessel and Mike Sullivan. Is Phil Kessel becoming a problem in an NHL dressing room? This is me with my “not shocked” face.

*Pierre Lebrun talks with TSN 1040 out in Vancouver about the Evander Kane contract extension with the San Jose Sharks, which is supposed to be in the seven-year, $49 million range. That is a massive gamble on a player that’s scored 30 goals once in a career where he’s underachieved most of the time. To put it in perspective, Kane will be getting paid $1 million more per season than a much better player in Boston in Brad Marchand. That’s the makings of a really, really bad contract in my humble opinion.

*PHT writer James O’Brien says that the Carolina Hurricanes trading Jeff Skinner would haunt the team, but it sure looks like the Canes are moving for a house-cleaning in Carolina.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Pothier out in Vegas says that all of the skepticism is gone when it comes to the Golden Knights acquiring Ryan Reaves after his big playoff moment.

*For something completely different: I’ve always wanted to see Mysterio on the big screen battling Spider-Man, and it looks like we will see that sooner rather than later as played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Sounds groovy to me.  

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