We’re now two days removed from Torey Krug’s bone-crunching hit on Blues rookie Robert Thomas in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, and the highlight-reel collision is still fresh in the minds of the Bruins, Blues and, well, most of the NHL.
While St. Louis bench boss Craig Berube said that Krug’s blast was not the primary cause, Thomas will indeed not play in Game 2 Wednesday night, with the winger held out due to an ailment that he’s been dealing with since the Western Conference Final against the Sharks.
“Nothing to do with the hit. No,” Berube said Wednesday afternoon about the source of Thomas’ injury. When did I get the sense that he wouldn't be in? Yesterday I made that decision that I was going to take him out. He's hurt.”
Seems a bit unlikely that Krug’s hit had no effect at all on Thomas, but regardless, the next shoe to drop will probably come at some point on Wednesday, with a heavy Blues team likely in search of some on-ice retribution for the state of their rookie.
St. Louis has the personnel and the big bodies to dole out some punishment, but Bruce Cassidy believes that the Blues will stay within the rules when it comes to throwing their weight around against Krug and his teammates at TD Garden.
“They're a pretty honest team, St. Louis,” Cassidy said. “I think they'll finish all their checks whether it’s No. 47 or (Matt) Grzelcyk or (Connor) Clifton, they're going to play hard, we expect that. I don't expect retaliation, if Torey's in a bad spot they're going to get him, I think that's what's going to happen. I thought it was a bit of a wrestling match at one end, they let it go which I agreed with, it didn't have a big effect on the play, two guys kind of going at it, it happens probably every series. They could I guess blow the whistle and throw them both in the box, that's their call.
“He came up ice and stayed in the play and the hit basically presented itself, I think he was going up the ice to keep a puck alive from what I saw, all of the sudden he finds himself in a position to deliver a big hit, it just ends up being one of those moments that people are talking about, honestly I think because his helmet was off. If his helmet wasn't off, are we talking about it?
“It's a hit that happens a lot in a physical series, we saw that against Columbus probably 10 times at least those big hits. It was a bit of an iconic moment because the hair's flying and the way he fell. It's good for hockey I think if they're talked about positively, if they're not then well it goes the other way."
Given Krug’s stature (5-foot-9, 186 pounds), there has to be some concern if he finds himself on the wrong end of a check from the likes of Patrick Maroon (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), Colton Parayko (6-foot-6, 230 pounds), Robert Bortuzzo (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) and others. But based on Krug’s reaction in the seconds after he bulldozed Thomas, it looks as though the B’s blue liner will be willing to scrap with anyone.
“It was more a stare,” Blues goalie Jordan Binnington said of Krug’s interaction with him after he skated towards the crease after the Thomas hit. His pupils were pretty big. I don’t know if he was on something, but he was pretty fired up.”
Stick tap for TB12:
One might take to the ice and the other to the gridiron, but Tom Brady and Zdeno Chara have developed quite a rapport over the years. Sure, Brady might have a few more rings than his counterpart, but both stand as veteran captains of their respective clubs, defying Father Time while remaining in hot pursuit of more titles.