Tyler Seguin ready to step back in, Jordan Caron moves up a peg
|06.08.11 at 1:33 pm ET|
Bruins fans and media should know the drill by now. A forward goes down, and it’s Seguin mania. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Tyler Seguin was a popular guy as he prepared for his return to the team’s lineup Wednesday.
With Nathan Horton out for the remainder of the playoffs due to a severe concussion suffered on a headshot from Aaron Rome in Game 3, Seguin will step in after being a healthy scratch for Monday’s 8-1 win over the Canucks. While plenty of attention will be placed on how his presence in the lineup makes up for the loss of Horton, he knows as well as everyone else should that asking him to fill the shoes of the team’s second-leading regular season scorer may be a bit of a stretch.
“Obviously, you can’t replace a guy like Horts, but everybody has to step up just like when [Patrice Bergeron] was out,” Seguin said Wednesday. “Guys had to step up even more, and that’s what guys have to ask of each other for tonight’s game.”
After scoring three goals and totaling six points against the Lightning in his first two playoff games, Seguin’s play declined. He turned in a solid performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, but by the time the Vancouver series began, he was getting less opportunities and played a more timid game. He was a ghost for nine minutes in Game 2, and coach Claude Julien sat him in Game 3 in favor of Shawn Thornton as a result.
“I think you have to be understanding. I wasn’t happy with how I played the last game in Vancouver. I don’t think I played my best. I can’t say I saw it coming, and I can’t say I was shocked,” Seguin said. “It was what it was. I gave Thorny a pat on the back and said, ‘go get ’em,’ and that’s all you can really do.”
While Games 1 and 2 featured flashier play, Game 3 against the Lightning was the most indicative of an NHL player. He was sound in all zones in his 13 minutes of ice time and showed more hockey smarts than he had previously. Though he wasn’t credited with an assist given that the puck changed hands too many times afterward, he set up Andrew Ference‘s third-period goal. On Wednesday, he was asked what was bigger: his fear of screwing up in his own zone (a common tendency for younger players) or the pressure he’s put on himself to make a difference offensively.
“I think it’s neither,” Seguin said. “I think it starts with being good in your defensive zone, and I think that will lead to offensive opportunities. I feel like if I go out there worried of making mistakes, that’s what I’m going to make. If I go out there confident and focused, I shouldn’t make any. That’s my mindset going into tonight.”
Then there’s the idea of the rookie finding motivation in the healthy scratches. After all, Seguin wore a suit for the first two rounds of the playoffs and it took Bergeron’s concussion to get him into the lineup. While the idea of proving himself has been a season-long motivating factor, Seguin intimated that a certain trophy trumps all personal goals when it comes to getting up for the finals.
“Everyone in here is motivated for this,” he said. “There’s a million reasons right there in front of you. Obviously that’s another one in there. You’ve got to bring it tonight and use it as good energy.”
With Horton out and Seguin in, suddenly there’s a spot for the 23rd guy in warmups. That man will be fellow rookie Jordan Caron, who began the year with the team in Prague and totaled seven points in 23 games with the B’s in a season that saw him spend the majority of his time with the Providence Bruins. He won’t be playing, but he’ll be able to go out there with the Stanley Cup patch on his uniform and take in the finals experience.
It also means that should another Bruins’ forward go down, Caron would be on the biggest stage after not seeing game action for nearly two months.
“It’s the Stanley Cup Final, so just to be around the team and playing practice with them and stuff [is cool],” Caron said. “If I get the call I’ve got to be ready. It should be fun.”
Said Julien: “Jordan has an opportunity to live that same experience that we’ve been giving [Seguin], and [Steven] Kampfer, a young player that we feel is a big part of our organization. Besides the game, you look at ways to help your young players grow. I think that’s one of the ways, as well.”