WILMINGTON, Mass. — Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug found himself in an unfamiliar position on Thursday night. The rookie blueliner, who burst onto the scene during last year’s playoffs, was listed as a healthy scratch for the first time in his career.
Seated in a suit high above the ice in the TD Garden Level 9 press box, Krug sat and watched as his team beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 to extend its season-high winning streak to seven games. That’s not an easy adjustment for any athlete to make, going from playing to watching. It can be especially difficult for a young player like Krug who had become accustomed to being in the lineup.
“You always want to play, and you always want to compete,” Krug said after partaking in the Bruins’ optional practice Thursday. “Competitive nature, we want to play every single game and we want to play as much as we can. You get a little bit upset, but at the same time, it’s a long season.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien stressed Thursday night that Krug’s healthy scratch wasn’t necessarily because he’s been playing poorly. The B’s have been trying to work in the newly acquired Andrej Meszaros (and eventually Corey Potter), which means someone from what had been the normal D-men group would have to sit. For two games, that was Dougie Hamilton. On Thursday night, it was Krug’s turn.
“One of the guys on the back end has to be (scratched) every game, so those moments of rest are important especially in a month like this,” Krug yielded.
Sitting for a game or two could actually benefit Krug in the long run. Hamilton responded well and played a solid game against Phoenix. That would certainly serve Krug well, as the offensive-minded defenseman has just one point in his last seven games. The Bruins’ hope is likely that when Krug returns to the lineup — which could be as early as Saturday — he takes something from the healthy scratch and uses that to improve moving forward.
“Watching the game from above, you can pick some stuff out that you can improve on,” he said. “Whatever it is, it’s coach’s decision. You go out there, you support the team, and we’re winning hockey games right now and that’s all that matters.”