BOSTON -- It hasn't hit him yet. And how could it?
It wasn't too long ago that Torey Krug was Michigan State captain, in his junior year. He was a Hobey Baker Award finalist. And weeks later, he's suiting up for the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
"This is what you dream of, the second that you're put up on ice skates," said Krug after making his NHL debut on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. "And I was put up on skates the day I could walk. So, I've been around hockey my whole life, and this is a dream come true."
Krug signed an entry-level contract with the Bruins last week, and had been practicing with the team, when he was told, following Monday's skate, that he'd be playing on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The game didn't mean much to the Bruins and their playoff hopes. They've already clinched the division, and they know they're going into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the East.
So it was a perfect time to get the 20-year-old, 5-foot-9 defenseman some playing time.
"It was a lot of fun, something Ill remember forever," said Krug. "Unfortunately, we didnt get the result that we wanted, but it was a lot of fun.
The Bruins lost 5-3, and Krug was on the ice for four goals -- two Bruins goals and two Penguins goals.
He finished with no points, but played over 18 minutes, which stood as the third-most minutes on the team, behind Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.
"I thought he handled himself well," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "I liked the way he moved the puck. I think everybody who knows the game realizes that he's a good puck-mover. His mobility was obvious.
"The only thing I would tell you is that, you could see him in the defensive zone, really thinking about trying to play within our system. And sometimes he was maybe just a fraction of a second delayed, which is totally normal. But once he knew what he had to do, he went. There was no hesitation, once his mind was made up. And that will only get better, as it becomes second nature. That's totally natural for a guy playing in his first game.
"But the rest of it, when he had the puck, he didn't hesitate," added Julien. "I thought he moved it well and made great passes."
Krug isn't eligible to play in the playoffs. But the experience on Tuesday night was something he'll never forget.
"I dont even know if its hit me yet," said Krug after Tuesday's game. "Its awesome. Ive come in, and its a tough time to come into a locker room, but all the guys have been very well receptive and Im very thankful for that.
"The biggest advice I was given was have fun and be myself. You know, when it comes down to it, its just another hockey game and its just a level higher. All the guys said, Have fun, youre going to remember this for the rest of your life.' And I think I did that."