Hello everyone, and welcome to the next edition “Bruins Extra”, to be featured here on Hockey Independent after each and every Bruins — be it Boston or Providence — game that hockey writer Benjamin Woodward is assigned to cover. The blog will feature in-depth analysis of individual performances, big moments in the game or any other extra thoughts from the previous night’s hockey action. I would advise you all to read the game recap — always linked below –, before taking a look at “Bruins Extra”, as it will give you a detailed background of that particular game’s events.
Game: Manchester Monarchs 2, Providence Bruins 3 : Recap
Even on an off-night, Ryan Spooner’s immense talent still shines through
If the NHL does ever make a return to action this season, the Boston Bruins are pretty much set with their roster, as 19 of their 20 spots appear to be filled. The one position, presumably, left up for grabs? Third line left wing alongside steady veterans Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly. Most think it will be Jordan Caron who takes the spot, but don’t be surprised if 2010 second round draft choice Ryan Spooner makes a real run at some playing time and makes a serious case for that job.
On a night in which he didn’t exactly have his A-game going for him, Spooner’s talent remained on full display Friday against the Monarchs. With the score even at one, he showed some tremendous vision — after receiving a feed from Chris Bourque – in distributing a beautiful cross-ice saucer pass to defenseman Tommy Cross who was standing on the doorstep of the goal. Unfortunately for Providence, the former Boston College Eagle could not capitalize on the prime scoring chance.
“It was a great play by those guys (Ryan Spooner and Chris Bourque). Hopefully next time I bury it.” – Tommy Cross
AHL experience already paying off for defenseman Torey Krug
Back in the summer, at rookie development camp in Wilmington, Massachusetts, I asked Torey Krug about his biggest and most important goals for the upcoming hockey season. He went on to tell me that he would have to “learn how to defend bigger guys at this level” in order to enjoy sustainable success in the NHL (You can read that article in its entirety, here). While it’s safe to assume that he’s still got plenty of room for improvement, the 21-year-old Michigan native seems to believe that he’s already accomplished this goal in establishing himself as a solid defender against larger opponents.
“Defensively, I’ve been playing really well. My plus/minus really doesn’t show that. There’s no excuses, I’ve been out there for some short-handed goals against. But when it comes down to playing against a bigger guy in the corner, I’m very comfortable and I feel very confident in my defensive game right now.” — Torey Krug
Confidence in oneself is one of the basic requirements to play hockey at a high level and to see that type of competitiveness from one of the team’s younger players is most definitely a welcome sign for the Bruins organization.
The self-confidence that Krug has displayed in the first quarter of his AHL debut season has been accompanied by a tremendously high hockey-IQ and an ability to adapt and learn. Often seeing the full two minutes of ice-time with the man-advantage during his time at Michigan State, Krug has had to learn a new power-play system in Providence, one that isn’t totally centered around him possessing the puck at the center of the blue-line.
“I was a big guy on the power-play at Michigan State. One of the main differences when you come here is that there’s guys getting paid to make those plays. Maybe at Michigan State there was times where I was trying to do a lot more by myself. Here, I have to understand that there are guys like Chris Bourque, Ryan Spooner, they play well with the puck and that’s what they get paid to do. I’ve got to try to get the puck in their hands and let them do the work.” — Torey Krug
Krug’s game-winning goal on Friday night put a smile on the face of the fans, his teammates, and especially his coach, Bruce Cassidy, who spoke highly of the young defenseman’s performance in the team’s victory over Manchester.
“He pushes the puck up the ice, he sees passing lanes and generally gets his shot through. I’m glad to see him get one because he does have a good shot.” – Bruce Cassidy
After spending the end of last season with the Boston Bruins, Krug knows what life is like in the National Hockey League. At this point — like most other players at the moment –, I’m sure he’s just chomping at the bit to get back there. While he didn’t get into much detail on the subject — and rightfully so –, Krug did offer one brief thought on the current NHL lockout.
“Hopefully they can figure it out, for the sake of the sport.” – Torey Krug
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.