The Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins, and with Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid getting his third night off due to a recent eye injury, Boston coach Claude Julien thought it was a good time for Krug to play his first game.
It was exactly a week ago when he first stepped on the ice as a professional after the Bruins signed him as a free agent on March 25. He recently completed his junior season at Michigan State University.
Krug, who is generously listed at 5-foot-9, has impressed Julien during the last week of practice.
“Everybody keeps talking about his size, but what I see is a guy who moves extremely well, passes the puck extremely well and seems to have really good vision,” Julien said. “They say he’s 5-foot-9, but he’s a pretty strong individual. You look at him and he’s pretty solid. To me, he’s got a lot of qualities we’ve been looking for.
“It’s an opportunity for him to play and enjoy it,” added Julien. “We can see what he’s all about. It’ll be a great experience for him.”
The Livonia, Mich., native served as team captain for the Spartans the past two seasons. The defenseman posted 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points in 38 games this season, while being named the CCHA player of the year.
Julien said his conversation with the rookie was brief and to the point.
“It’s always been pretty simple,” explained Julien. “The one thing I never do is put pressure on the kids. The one thing I tell them is just to go out there and, to me, it’s important that they enjoy their first experience in the NHL. If they come to the rink and they’re nervous and fearing what’s going to happen, that’s the wrong approach and the wrong attitude.
“I tell them to play their game and if there’s anything that needs to be corrected, we’ll correct it as we go along. Don’t worry about mistakes, just go out there and do what got you here. They need to be comfortable, so we try to put them in as much of a comfort zone as we can. By the end of the night, you want the person to say, ‘This was a lot of fun.’ That’s what you want to create when those guys play their first game.”
As far as McQuaid, he participated in the morning skate and was sporting a visor to protect his eye. He had received 18 stitches to close the gash he suffered last Thursday against the Washington Capitals. Julien said McQuaid could play Tuesday night, but the team decided it was best to give him another day off.
The Capitals’ Jason Chimera hit McQuaid late in the first period and he landed face-first into the end boards behind the Bruins’ net. He remained on the ice for a few minutes and needed assistance to the locker room when he was able to get to his feet. He did not suffer a concussion but he did not travel with the Bruins on their recent two-game road trip to New York.
After Tuesday’s skate, McQuaid said he’s moved on from the hit.
“It’s over and done with,” he said. “You move on from it. I probably didn’t help the situation with the way I turned. He was coming in with a lot of speed and I was reading him more coming in on an angle, as opposed to straight down. You just move on.”