Torey Krug has been an underdog most of his professional hockey career, and that hasn’t changed despite a breakout post-season this past spring.
The undersized defenseman who emerged from almost out of nowhere to score four goals and six points in the Boston Bruins run to the Stanley Cup Final is still fighting for a job in the starting lineup with the NHL club as a new season comes upon us.
“My goal is to be on the team opening night and throughout the season,” Krug told ESPN Boston, “but management is the one making that decision, so I’m just going to keep my head down, remain confident and do what I do.”
The 22-year-old Krug, listed at 5’9” and 180 pounds, was never drafted and had only three games worth of NHL experience to his credit prior to the 2013 playoffs. He spent most of last season with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, and began the playoffs there as well.
But he turned heads in the Eastern Conference semifinal against the New York Rangers, going on a tear that included scoring four goals in five games to help the Bruins advance.
His performance earned him the nod for top rookie at the halfway point of the playoffs, as decided by NHL.com writers, as per John Kreiser of NHL.com.
“It’s unbelievable, the poise he has with the puck. It’s nice to see a guy like Torey play so well,” Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg back in May.
“I don’t know if it’s out of nowhere. There’s got to be a reason [the Bruins] wanted him so badly. I think they knew what they had.”
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.