Are expectations high enough for Tyler Seguin?
|04.17.12 at 12:10 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Last year, the first round was a time for Tyler Seguin apologists to bash Claude Julien for not putting him in the lineup.
This year, the game sheet says that Seguin is in the lineup, but little else has.
Seguin, who is still just 20 years of age, has struggled to produce thus far in the postseason after leading the B’s with 29 goals and 67 points. He hasn’t been the only Bruins star forward to start the playoffs quietly, but after a dominant regular season, expectations to continue that means more pressure when the points aren’t coming.
While Seguin was very good in the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals (his Game 3 performance, though it featured no points, was perhaps the most complete game as a rookie), it isn’t a complete shock that he’s failed to match his regular-season success early on in the playoffs. He’s getting the minutes as a top-six forward, but two of the areas in which he isn’t particularly strong — battling for pucks and play in his own end — are ones that are often exploited in the postseason.
Julien was asked at Tuesday’s media availability what the team needs to do to get their young scorer going.
“I think we've got to, kind of, in a way leave him alone,” Julien said. “When I say leave him alone, we're helping him through it, but to put too much pressure on a young player like that, I don't think is the right approach, for me anyway.
“You've got to guide him along and you know he's going to find his game. He's not playing badly. But again, there's a lot of expectations on some of these young players and sometimes it is maybe not always fair. And that's why you've got guys like [Brian] Rolston and [Chris] Kelly and those kind of guys producing for us, because they're veterans and they've been through these situations before.”
To be fair to Seguin, he isn’t the only big name forward that needs to get going offensively for the B’s. Milan Lucic still doesn’t have a point, though he had a much better game on Monday. David Krejci, who led the NHL with 12 goals and 23 points last postseason, also does not have a point through the first three games.
The top two lines still have not scored a goal this postseason. Though Rich Peverley scored in the second period Monday, it came on 4-on-4 while he was on the ice with Kelly. The Bruins’ bottom-six forwards have scored four of the team’s six goals this postseason, a sign that the B’s need more from their top two lines. That means that the pressure is on their leading scorer from the regular season. Julien doesn’t think that pressure’s fair.
“Tyler last year was in and out of the lineup during the playoffs so for us to expect that he's just going to take over because he led our team in scoring, to me it's not reality,” Julien said. “He's going to find his way because he's a smart player, he's a good player, and we're going to allow him the time to do that without putting undue pressure on him.”
That doesn’t exactly sound like the biggest vote of confidence from Julien. The team should expect Seguin to take over games. He’s one of the most talented players in the league, even if he doesn’t play as physical a game as is required in the postseason. Seguin can dominate games, as the Bruins have seen before. They don’t need to make excuses for him, they just need him to start producing.