By @MichaelCaples –
PLYMOUTH – On the first day of the World Junior Summer Showcase, Christian Krygier said he was going to take the event one skate at a time, because he was well-aware of how many other talented young hockey players USA Hockey had invited to Plymouth.
“Yeah it’s a huge honor, definitely an accomplishment,” he said of his invite to the WJSS camp with Team USA. “I’m happy to be here, but it’s just the start of the process, and at the same time, don’t want to get too overly excited about it because it could be over sooner than you think. Just taking it day by day, doing what I need to do and playing my game, let the rest take care of itself. It’s a selection process, so it’s not really up to me, I just have to do what I can do and leave the rest up to them.”
Roster decisions are certainly up to the coaching staff, yes, but Krygier didn’t leave them much of a choice. In the first two games of the camp with the ‘USA Blue’ split-squad team, the Novi native and Michigan State sophomore defenseman led his team in scoring with three assists and a plus-4 rating.
Seeing his name atop a stats count was surely a surprise, as Krygier knows his skill-set shines more in the two zones closer to his team’s goal crease.
“Just the type of player I am, a hard-nosed defenseman that shuts down players and like to play defense,” said Krygier on what he wants to show the coaching staff this week. “I think in these tournaments, you get a lot of high-end skill guys who can generate points on the power play and do their thing – that’s not me. I think my role is playing hard-nosed defense and just being a prick to play against for the other team. I’m just going to focus on playing hard and just doing the little things every day.”
Krygier has appeared in both games since the roster merge, as head coach Scott Sandelin and his staff clearly take a long look at the 6-foot-2, 192-pound blueliner. Now, through four games in Plymouth, the New York Islanders draftee has a plus-5 rating to go with the three points he picked up in the first two games. He also has two penalties, and two shots on goal.
Skating with Team USA in a pressure-packed evaluation showcase has been made a little easier by it taking place in his home rink, however.
“Yeah, I live like five minutes from here, played here for probably 13 or 14 years, so it’s pretty cool to be back here and see the facility they have created here,” the longtime Compuware defenseman said. “It’s state-of-the-art, and back in the day when I was here, it wasn’t like this. It’s cool to be back and be close to home.”
He’s also less than an hour away from the team he will be suiting up for this fall. Krygier has high hopes for Michigan State heading into his sophomore season; he and his twin brother, Cole, were late additions to the Spartans’ 2018 recruiting class.
“My freshman year went really well, it was a good fit,” he said. “Came in there and we had a better season than the year before, and I think this year we’re going to be better. I’m looking forward to it.”
Krygier said his team is excited for the renovation process that just began for their barn; Munn Ice Arena is undergoing $18.8 million in upgrades that include new training facilities, new offices, a facelift for one side of the building and more.
“Yeah it’s going to be really cool. I think the 18.8 million is going to create something pretty special. It’s going to be exciting to see, and to have Tom Izzo donate a million in 2011 and donate another million to top it off and finally get it going…right when he put the million in, the shovels were out there, and they’re digging now, so it’s pretty exciting to see that side of Munn getting renovated.”
Yeah, how about that Tom Izzo gift?
“It’s pretty cool. I don’t think if you would have told me…you never expect another coach to donate that much money. It’s pretty incredible that he has the support and passion for the school, it’s pretty incredible to see him and all of the donors and the support system that we have there at Michigan State and we thank them every day because if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be where we are. We appreciate them and they’re a big part of our organization and university.”
Krygier will also be keeping an eye on what happens in Grand Rapids this season; his father, Todd, was recently named the new assistant coach of the Griffins after three years with Western Michigan and three years with the Muskegon Lumberjacks before that.
“I’m excited for him. it’s been cool to see him, I think I was 12 or 13 when he first got his job in Muskegon, so he spent three years there and three years at Western, and now in Grand Rapids…I’m pretty excited for him. It’s nice that he’s still close to home, too. It’s good.”