(An occasional series in which the Globe commutes to work with a Boston athlete)
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug still has a chip on his shoulder. He’s 5 feet 9 inches and was never chosen in the NHL Draft. This year, his fourth full season, he has posted career highs in points (51) and assists (43). He’s not afraid to carry the puck end-to-end or to check a larger opponent.
The 25-year-old Krug wears No. 47 to honor Bruins greats Bobby Orr (who wore 4) and Ray Bourque (who wore 7, then 77). The Michigan native says he loves Boston so much that he lives here year-round.
On this morning, he maneuvers his Porsche Cayenne from his home in the North End to the Bruins’ spiffy new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility in Brighton.
Q. So I guess the most important thing is who’s got the better cannoli: Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry Shop?
A: I’m a Mike’s guy. I’m loyal. I’ve become friends with them over the last few years. I’m not a huge cannoli guy but I’m picking Mike’s on that one.
Q. If I wasn’t in the car, what would you be listening to: rock ’n’ roll, NPR, sports talk radio?
A. I actually listen to everything. I usually have country on in the morning. If I’m heading to the game, I’ll have some rock ’n’ roll, some dance music, and all that stuff to get me pumped up.
I listen to Zac Brown Band a lot. That was one of my most favorite concerts [at Fenway Park]. Kings of Leon, they’re great. I had the second date with my wife at their concert a long time ago, so, yeah, they are a band I always want to see.
I listen to sports radio in the summer.
Q. When they’re not talking about you?
A. Yeah, when they’re not ripping [the Bruins]. When the Sox are playing.
Q. You think those guys are mean-spirited?
A. I think they have a job to do. I don’t really listen to them during our season, so I don’t know what they say.
Q. Let’s talk about driving. Parts of Boston have these ancient cow paths, and your hometown, Livonia, Mich., is a grid. So what’s the difference in driving between the two places?
A. Oh, it’s completely different. There it maybe takes five minutes to go 5 miles. And here, 1 mile could be a 20-minute drive. I stay here in the summer, so I’ve learned the ins and outs of the city and which ways to go and how to get around. That’s helped me a lot down here.
Q. What about the drivers themselves? Are Boston drivers good drivers? Or is it like hockey, where they are battling in the corners to get to the puck?
A. I wouldn’t say that Boston people are bad drivers. I would say that it’s just a little hectic. It’s almost like anything goes out here. Just getting from Point A to Point B as fast as you can, it seems to be the way that people approach things out here.
Q. You’re chippy and so are they. Isn’t there a parallel to that?
A. (Laughs) I think so. Yeah. I think that’s why. I hope Boston fans like me. I think they see the hard work.
Q. Why do you guys have morning skate-arounds when you play night games? Is that masochistic?
A. (Laughs) Yeah, that’s more traditional than anything else. I think it’s stupid and a waste of time, but guys like to get out of bed and go on the ice and loosen up and make sure their sticks are ready and their equipment is ready.
Q. Your dad was your first coach, right?
A. He was my coach for most of my life. I’ve only had one other coach growing up, so he was a really big influence.
Q. Does he call you and say, “Why didn’t you go in the corner?”
A. I still talk to him after every game. He’s still one of my coaches, to be honest. He knows the potential I have and he knows when I’m not playing my game and he’ll let me know about it, especially when I’m in a slump. A lot of times it works. He helps me out a lot.
Q. Do you think grownups should wear a player’s jersey, or do you think there should be a cutoff age?
A. (Laughs) My dad always had a rule that you never wear another man’s name on your back, so I think there’s a cutoff age at some point. But to each his own, I guess. If you’re a big fan, then I guess you can wear whatever you want.
Q. So your bulldog is called “Fenway.” Why isn’t he called TD?
A. (Laughs) When I said we should name her Fenway, [my wife] was, like, right away, “Yeah.” That was a no-brainer for us. We liked the ring to it. We thought it fit a bulldog pretty well.
Q. Bobby Orr once told me his gym bag doesn’t smell. Does your gym bag smell?
A. No, my bag doesn’t smell.
Q. Why not?
A. I don’t know. I just stay on top of cleaning things. I’m kind of a neat freak most of the time. If you compare my car to most of the other guys on the team, it’s drastically different.
Q. You were with coach “Butch” Cassidy in Providence. Have you seen the movie, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” that inspired his nickname?
A. No, I have not seen it.
Q. It doesn’t have a happy ending.
A. It doesn’t? Oh well.
Q. What kind of ending will this season have?
A. It’s going to be good. I’ve heard some of the things that Butch has said to the media about wanting to write his own story and the guys coming in want to write their own story. Two years without playoffs is too long for us, so we’ve got to get back in. Then anything can happen in the playoffs, especially when we have the core players that we do. They’ve stepped up in big moments before and won a Stanley Cup.
Personally, I have been to a Stanley Cup Final and I think that anytime you have a goalie like Tuukka Rask and Zdeno, and Bergy, and the way Marshy has been playing, anything can happen once we get in.
Q. Do you think the natives are getting restless?
A. Yeah, and rightfully so. That’s why we love playing in this city. That’s one of the reasons I chose to come to Boston, because the expectations were so high. We know we have another level inside of us. We should’ve been in the postseason the last couple of seasons. It didn’t happen, but I think everything is part of a greater journey.
Q. Is there a noticeable change in style between American-born players and Canadian-born players and foreign-born players?
A. There’s a difference in styles between different countries. The Americans and Canadians play a similar style. The Finnish-born players are very hard to play against — they’re tough, hard-nosed, and they play fast. Swedes are typically a really skilled group; they can play both sides of the puck, offensive and defensive, and they’re really smart too.
Q. You scored a recent goal after a scuffle with (Ottawa’s) Dion Phaneuf. Did that push in the face inspire you?
A. Yeah, it did. Sometimes you can go though a whole game not even saying a word to someone on the other team and sometimes you might be a little sleepy or someone punches you in the face and it wakes you up. So that was probably one of those instances for me. It gets you involved, and when everything is driven by emotion, it forces you to be a better player.
Q. What’s the most adrenaline-infused moment in hockey? Is it the moment you drop the gloves to fight?
A. The roar of the crowd in that moment is pretty intense. That’s one of the coolest things. I’m not a fighter and usually when I do fight it is never planned, its a heat of the moment thing that just happens. That’s a special part of our game. There’s a place for it and it’s definitely a high adrenaline moment for us.
Q. Do you talk trash?
A. Yeah, there are certain players that do it and so you just can’t sit there and take it. It’s part of the game. What happens on the ice stays on the ice. There’s some funny stuff.
Q. Pick one story you can tell.
A. Marshy was talking to Leo Komarov of Toronto and they were jawing back and forth. Marshy told him he would sign a stick for him and send it over after the game. That was pretty funny.
A. Probably not.
Q. Is it legal to have mirrors on your gloves so you can see behind you when you’re skating backwards?
A. I don’t think that’s ever been brought up so…
Q. Would it help you?
A. Nah, I think things happen too fast out there. I don’t buy into it. It’s interesting, though.
Q. How does your lack of size motivate you?
A. It’s the only thing I’ve ever known obviously. It has really made me develop special skills that make me unique. An example would be to break out the puck and I take a lot of pride in that.
Its definitely given me the motivation to keep competing. Sometimes its gotten me in trouble because I want to prove to people that size doesn’t matter and it forces me into bad situations on the ice.
Q. Lets go back in time to Draft Night? Did you have a party and then not get picked? It had to be depressing.
A. I didn’t have a party.
I interviewed with the Bruins, the Islanders and Carolina, each team said there was a chance that they would draft me, that they wanted to draft me. So I’m sitting by the computer watching every single draft pick and seeing these kids that I know- guys I know that I’m way better than-get picked and it pissed me off.
Q. Did you cry?
A. I didn’t cry, I was more mad than anything.
That just fueled the fire for me so it set the tone going into my junior season in college and I took off from there.
Q. Is it stressful to be an offensive defenseman?
A. I hate that title to be honest.
Q. OK, lets rename it. What do you call it?
A. I’m an all around defenseman. I know that because I score points people think I’m strictly offensive and I’ve been trying to shed that title ever since I got here.
It’s almost like the first media person called me an offensive defenseman when I got here and I can’t shed that title. Being a top four defenseman. I’m out there in all kinds of situations. My coaches put me out there in the D zones taking big face offs and playing against top notch players, offensive defenseman don’t get to do that.
Q. I noticed the other night your helmet came flying off. Did you feel like Rocket Richard out there?
A. It felt like old time hockey. If it was a closer game I probably would’ve stayed on the ice but since it was 4-1 (Bruins lead) I’d figured I better get off the ice and not get hurt.
Q. Do you want to participate in the 2018 Olympics?
A. Yeah, that would be unbelievable….I do know the players want to go and for me personally that would be awesome. That would be a lot of fun.
Q. Do you worry about repeated concussions?
A. I do. My brother actually recently still suffers from concussion symptoms and he’s been out of the game for probably four years. So yeah, I worry about it. It’s definitely a scary part of the game for sure.
Q. Your point total is the highest in your career and the highest for a Bruins defenseman. Is this your best season?
A. Yes I think I’ve developed more this year than I have in years past. I’ve been playing against first line players and second line players all season and its really helped me develop and become an all around player. I think its as consistent as I’ve ever played.
Q. But your plus minus is negative 14. Do you think the plus-minus statistic is unfair?
A. I think its BS. There are so many things. Like I don’t get a plus for being out there on a power play goal. That eliminates all the power play goals that I’ve helped provide for the team. I’m out there when we pull our goalie and we’re trying to score a goal and probably 10 times they scored in an empty net. So that’s 10 minuses right there.
Q. What’s unusual about this state of the art Warrior Ice Arena practice facility? Do you have naked women walking on your back or anything like that?
A. Nah, just old guys.
Stan Grossfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.