He didn’t think it would be this hard.
But after skating up and down the center of the ice and going side to side in his first game as a center, Tyler Seguin  has a whole new appreciation and understanding of exactly what Patrice Bergeron  does.
In his first game replacing the concussed Bergeron, Seguin skated 19 shifts in 19 minutes with Jaromir Jagr on his right and Brad Marchand  on his left. Seguin finished with three shots in Boston’s 1-0 win over the Devils Thursday night at the Garden.
“First shift I was like, ‘Bergy, I appreciate you a lot more right now,'” Seguin said. “I guess the first period I felt it a little bit more, but, again, as the game progressed I felt like I could use my speed a little bit more, and it was just about finding those areas. It’s one thing from being a centerman and then going to the NHL , but it’s another thing from going center to wing in the NHL  and then going back to center, so it’s going to take some adjustment.”
His coach could certainly see a difference.
“Well, it brought us what we thought. Tyler is obviously realizing, probably, how tough it is for Bergy to play that position, because playing in the D-zone, there’s a lot of territory to cover as a centerman, and when pucks are going from one side to the other, he wasn’t always there,” coach Claude Julien  added. “That’s the work in progress, and that’s what we expected, and that’s what he’s going to get used to. But overall, that line was fine. Again, you’ve got to remember there’s a Hall of Famer on that line with two young players who were probably looking for him a bit too much versus making the plays or taking the shots like they should’ve. Hopefully, it will wear off and it will get better.”
Seguin also has a new appreciation of the responsibility Bergeron carries in the face-off circle. Seguin won just three-of-12 but vowed to get better with practice.
“I felt a little bit rusty on face-offs and I’ll get a little bit more confident on that with practice,” Seguin said. “I haven’t taken too many draws in the last few years. Obviously in juniors I took almost all of them, especially big ones, but it’s going to take some time. It’s one thing to go step out there and have one draw if Bergy gets kicked out. It’s another thing to be strategically doing certain things depending on what the other guy is doing, so it’s going to take a little while to get back into that and get more confident with that.”
Seguin said communication will be the key to getting more familiar and comfortable as a line while Bergeron is out.
“We were talking a lot,” Seguin said. “Definitely when you have a new linemate, especially a guy like Jagr, you’ll be talking a lot, learning from each other, trying to build that chemistry. I thought, again, as the game progressed we felt more and more comfortable with him.
“I mean, definitely a few times in the first especially I found myself kind of going in the winger spot sometimes, and when I was doing that I kind of just went back to the middle of the house and went from there. I wasn’t sure what to do, but, again, as the game progressed I started, I guess, remembering things and figuring it out out there.”
As for playing for the first time alongside Jagr, someone who was winning Stanley Cups before he was even born, Seguin said he was in a little bit of awe.
“It’s pretty cool to watch,” Seguin said. “You see him going to the corners or the side of the rink, and he really puts out his arm or get his big butt in there, I guess. He’s a pretty strong boy, so we see that happening, Marsh [Brad Marchand ] and I are trying to get there for him as quick as possible, and with more chemistry we should pick up all of those pucks.
“I think just the way he’s so shifty definitely opens things up. Again, even though it’s just our first game I think with more progression and actual practice under our belt, Marchy [Brad Marchand] and I will be able to use our speed a little bit more with the space that Jagr is giving us.”