In the Stanley Cup Playoffs when a team sets a physical tone early in a series, that team typically wins the series. While the game has developed into a more of speed and skill type game, there is still a need for big hits in the game to send a physical message. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug sent that message in a comeback victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Krug delivered the body check of the playoffs when he laid out St. Louis forward Robert Thomas.
Hockey is a game of hitting and the hit delivered by Krug was important as it kept the momentum on the Bruins side. “It’s part of the game. And momentum swings give your team boosts of energy,” Krug said. “I don’t know what they [the St. Louis Blues] were feeling on their bench, but if it pushes them back and catches them off-guard then great for our team. But I think it gave our team energy, and that’s all you’re trying to do out there,” Krug said post-game.”
Not only did Krug get praise from Bruins great Ray Bourque, but his hit on Thomas hearkens back to the days when Scott Stevens played in the NHL and delivered big body checks in the playoffs. While most of these hits would not be allowed in today’s NHL, Krug reminded everyone what hockey was like 20 years ago.
Plays like the Krug made in Game 1 gives the team confidence and an emotional lift needed to win a game. Players feed off the physical play, and when they see a teammate deliver a hit like that, they want to go out there play physical. “That gave me some goosebumps,” said David Backes. “He doesn’t have a helmet on, but he goes right up the ice and lays a big hit. He thinks he’s playing thirty, forty years ago. That was an exchange; I think that was Torey Krug establishing himself in this series. And that was from my perspective a big boost.”
Bruins forward Marcus Johansson summed it up best when he said of the Krug hit, “Yeah that was awesome.” There you have 21st-century lingo to describe a great body check.
The Bruins will want to continue to play their game in Game 2 Wednesday night as physical play is vital in the playoffs.