BOSTON — Torey Krug is worried about roster spots and cracking the lineup, but it might not be the lineup you would think.
When Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, who will also serve as Team USA head coach at the Winter Olympics in February, said Monday that Krug was “without hesitation” being looked at for a spot on the roster, it may have been a bit of a surprise. Sure, Krug has played well since last season’s playoffs, and he continues to get better seemingly every night, but it still seemed a bit far-fetched that he would crack the roster.
He still may be a longshot, but he probably made quite a nice impression Monday night against the Penguins. The Bruins defenseman rocketed home the game-winning goal just 34 seconds into overtime to give the B’s the win. He did so with Bylsma just a few feet away and with Penguins general manager and Team USA associate GM Ray Shero looking on from the press box.
You would certainly understand if Krug was thinking after the game about being on the roster, and he was — but he was thinking about the Bruins roster. Despite the praise and impressive showing, Krug insists he’s more worried about the black and gold than the red, white and blue.
“I don’t think about it,” Krug said when asked about putting on a show in front of the Team USA brass. “I’m just worried about what’s happening here with the Boston Bruins, just trying to help them win games and trying to solidify my games to make sure I’m in the lineup every night.”
The overtime game, much like the Olympic game, presents Krug with open ice to do what he does best, which is skate and move and shoot the puck. He did all of that in the overtime period before ripping the game-winner by Marc-Andre Fleury. Out there with three forwards against a dangerous Pittsburgh attack, it certainly showcased Krug’s all-around ability.
“He gets around, he seems to find those gaps and everything else,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “He moves around really well. There’s no doubt it’s an area for him such as other players in the league — you look at guys like [Kris] Letang and other defensemen, defensemen like that who love that space because they move around so well and tonight he was in the right place. [Brad Marchand] made a great play, but he picked that top corner. He knew where he was going with that shot. “
If Krug isn’t willing to talk about his chances at making the American squad, that’s fine. If he keeps playing like this, though, everyone else will take care of that for him.