|After early jitters, Tyler Seguin plays the game he and everyone else was waiting for||05.15.11 at 1:38 am ET|
The positives for the were scarce for the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday, but there were certainly encouraging signs. Some of those signs came from rookie Tyler Seguin, who overcame a rough start to his first playoff game and ended up with a goal, an assist and some signs of physicality.
Early on, it was unclear whether Seguin could be a factor or whether he would fall into old habits. An early minus-2 rating and a bad turnover that nearly cost the team a goal were it not for a great play by Andrew Ference certainly provided reason to believe the latter could be the case. As is the case with goal-scorers, all it took was him scoring to make a difference.
For those who have whined for Seguin to get into the lineup, the rookie’s first-period goal was exactly what they were talking about. Seguin took a pass from Michael Ryder (who also assisted his first career goal back on Oct. 10) in the neutral zone, showcased his fanciness in going through Mike Lundin in embarrassing fashion for the Lightning defenseman and beat Dwayne Roloson to make it 3-1.
“I think coming into the first period, I was definitely very excited,” Seguin said following the game. “I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs. After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there.”
It would be a while before Seguin would show that poise. He didn’t play the rest of the period and had to wait until midway through the second before getting back on the ice, making it 14:56 without a shift for the rookie. He would play only two shifts in the second period, partially a result of lots of special teams work (five penalties between the two teams), as Seguin does not play on the power play or penalty kill.
Still, just five minutes of ice time through two periods for the team’s only goal-scorer to that point was a big surprising to see. For someone who had spent the previous 11 playoff games in the press box, Seguin wasn’t complaining.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s a lot better than being up in the stands where you can’t contribute at all,” Seguin said. “At least there I could be out with the boys and motivating everyone. Everyone was trying to keep their heads high that point. We were running into a lot of PK’s and a lot of power plays and trying to get one there before the end of the second but it didn’t work out.”
Julien would eventually reward Seguin, who also put a big hit on Lundin in the second period. The rookie was given more regular shifts in the third period, and was even temporarily promoted to the second line with Brad Marchand and Johnny Boychuk.
“It was just to make sure he got in the game,” Julien said. “He skated well, he had a goal, had some opportunities, and this was an opportunity for him to go in and help us out. So that’s, with all the power plays and penalties and stuff that we had, it was important to move Tyler into some spots here and that’s all we did.”
His time out there would result in one more Bruins goal, a tally from Kelly in which Seguin picked up a helper. Yet through everything that he displayed — speed and skill the most obvious — nothing may have been more encouraging than the fact that he threw his body around a bit. He still had his moments where he slowed up heading into corners, but he took steps that if built upon could go a long way.
“[I realized from watching] up top you kind of have to do everything,” Seguin said. “And I also want to bring a physical approach to the game and appearance. I tried doing that a few times finishing my checks.”
So what is ahead for the rookie? Julien clearly looked at Seguin’s entire first period rather than just his goal, but in the end, the play the 19-year-old made was the most explosive of the night for the Bruins. Could it mean an uptick in minutes? Perhaps. Asked whether it could finally mean Seguin’s return to the power play, the coach offered a smile and a “no comment.”
Maybe he won’t get back on the power play, but if he can play the way he did starting late in the first period Saturday, the rookie may finally have the impact he and so many others hoped he could in his first season.
|Dwayne Roloson mourns loss of friend Derek Boogaard||05.14.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
Dwayne Roloson has been big for the Lightning all postseason, but on Saturday the Tampa Bay goaltender will play with a heavy heart.
Roloson lost a friend and former teammate in Derek Boogaard, as the Rangers and former Wild winger was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment Friday. He was 28 years of age, and no cause of death is currently known.
“It’s pretty tough to handle right now,” Roloson, who was in the Minnesota organization with Boogaard from 2001-06, said Saturday morning. “He was a great person away from the rink and at the rink. There’s not much that needs to be said about what he did for his teammates on the ice. He gave them the security, but at the same time he did the little things to help his teammates succeed in the game of hockey. It’s very unfortunate and my heart goes out to his family right now.”
The winger, commonly known as “The Boogey Man,” signed with the Rangers prior to this past season, though Roloson, who was playing for the Islanders, said that he would “see him a lot” and kept in contact with Boogaard. It was a product of how close players from the Wild organization grew, and how they never lost their friendships.
“Our team in Minnesota was a really close team, and guys keep in contact all the time throughout that organization, from the time that I was there until now,” Roloson said. “It says a lot about the organization and the quality guys that were there. It’s unfortunate, and hopefully is doing OK with it.”
Boogaard and Roloson only played on the same team during the 2005-06 season, though they grew close in their time in Minnesota. Even from camps, Roloson learned what kind of guy the seventh-round pick was before they were technically teammates.
“He was an awesome guy in the room,” Roloson recalled. “I remember when he first broke in, every day he came in to work hard, and he wanted to get better. He wanted to make it to the NHL and prove every person out there that said he couldn’t make it wrong. He worked hard every every day on and off the ice. He was one of those guys that was the first on and last off, had that type of attitude to get better, and obviously he succeeded.”
|Bruins-killer Simon Gagne: ‘They’re on a mission’||05.14.11 at 12:57 pm ET|
Simon Gagne should be used to facing the Bruins in the playoffs by now. A season ago, he was arguably the man that sunk them in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With the Bruins holding a 3-0 series lead over Philadelphia, Gagne, then a Flyer, returned to the lineup for Game 4 after a broken toe suffered in the first round vs. the Devils kept him out of the beginning of the series. Gagne scored the game-winning goal in overtime to keep the Flyers alive in the series, and added a pair of goals three days later in a 4-0 Phialdelphia win in Game 5. His most crucial goal of the series would come in Game 7, when he notched the go-ahead tally in the third period following a costly too-many-ice penalty taken by the Bruins. The goal was the game-winner, and it capped the Flyers’ comeback from trailing, 3-0, in both the series and Game 7.
Now, Gagne is once again returning from a playoff absence (this time a head injury suffered in the second round) to face the Bruins, but it’s as a member of the Lightning following an offseason trade. Gagne watched the last series between his old mates and the Bruins, and he said Saturday that he sees a difference from a season ago.
“It’s a different team from last year,” Gagne said. “They got some new guys, Thomas is in net now, so it’s a different team than last year. It looks like this year, they’re on a mission, and that’s the way it felt when I saw them play against Philly. Philly’s a good team, and they beat them in four games. That means they’re a really good team.”
Including guys who played sparingly last year in rookies Brad Marchand and Adam McQuaid, eight of the Bruins’ regulars as they enter Game 1 of the conference finals were newcomers to the lineup this year. Yet while the emergence of guys like Marchand and the addition of Nathan Horton have been massive for the B’s, the biggest change for them involves a guy who was around last year in Thomas. At least that’s the way Gagne sees it.
“Last year, Tuukka Rask was actually playing really, really good for them,” Gagne said of the youngster who started every game between the pipes for the Bruins last postseason. “Everybody thought that he was going to be the goalie for the future for Boston. I think he’s still their goalie of the future — I don’t think he’s going to go anywhere — but to see Thomas coming back after a tough season last year with injuries, to see him play like that surprised a lot of people, but at the same time, he was good before he got hurt. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see him playing that good.”
The Bruins and Thomas will hope to continue their “mission” Saturday night, while Gagne just hopes he can continue to feed his reputation of postseason Bruins-killer.
|Bruins hope Marc Savard makes it to Boston during Conference Finals||05.14.11 at 11:51 am ET|
The Bruins to not have expect to have Marc Savard in the house for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, though coach Claude Julien confirmed Saturday that the center, who is recovering from post-concussion syndrome, is expected to make the trip to Boston during the series.
“I think he’s supposed to be coming down at some point,” Julien said after Saturday’s morning skate. “I’m not quite sure exactly what day or which game, but he’s supposed to come down. He might be here on the weekend for all I know. I heard something about it a while back, and I can’t say I remember exactly the date.
“No doubt, he’s a part of our hockey club. He’s always welcomed here any time he wants to come down. I know he’s trying to get over a concussion that’s really set him back, and we’ve given him that space and that time. Being around the family is a good way to help yourself through that also. He’s always been welcomed here whenever he needs to see doctors or he wants co tome around the team, he’s welcome to do that.”
Since suffering his most recent concussion in late January and being shut down for the season, Savard has spent his time back home in Peterborough, Ontario.
|Patrice Bergeron skates, Adam McQuaid in for Bruins in Game 1||05.14.11 at 11:39 am ET|
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron skated prior to the team’s morning skate Saturday, marking the first time the team’s postseason points leader has taken the ice since suffering a concussion in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Flyers.
“He went out and just had a light skate this morning,” coach Claude Julien said following the team’s morning skate in anticipation of Game 1 of the conference finals vs. the Lightning. “That’s where he’s at now, just a light skate on his own.
“This is something that’s just protocol, that he’s going through the normal stuff,” the coach added. “Today was a light skate on his own, and he just got off the ice when we went on. I don’t think there’s much more that we can give you except that it can go either way. We’re certainly not going to comment on that kind of stuff and just hope that he keeps getting better.”
While Bergeron will miss at least the beginning of the series, Julien said that defenseman Adam McQuaid, who sprained his neck in Game 2 of the conference semifinals in Philadelphia, will be in the lineup for Game 1. McQuaid has three points (all assists) and a plus-4 rating thus far in the playoffs.
|David Krejci on ‘best player in the world’ Pavel Datsyuk: ‘I’m in the third round, and he’s done’||05.13.11 at 1:59 pm ET|
David Krejci deserves high praise for the way he has played of late, as he led the Bruins with eight points in the team’s four-game sweep of the Flyers in the second round. Still, the VS. coverage team for Thursday’s Game 7 between the Red Wings and Sharks may have gotten a little carried away when Pierre McGuire said that Krejci is “Boston’s version of Pavel Datsyuk.”
The differences between the two players can be seen on the stat sheet, of course. Datsyuk has had four seasons with at least 87 points in his nine-year career, while Krejci’s career-high in points came when he notched 73 in 2008-09.
Krejci was watching the game, but said he didn’t hear the “obviously” flattering remark.
“The guys told me about that,” Krejci said Friday. “I didn’t hear it on TV, but I don’t know what to say.”
Krejci himself had some kind words for the Detroit center, noting that he believes Datsyuk is the best hockey player in the world.
“I think he’s a little different player than I am,” the 25-year-old said. “He’s got great hands. I don’t think there is another player like him. He’s the best player in the world with his skills, with the puck moves. He’s just unbelievable. It’s just good to watch him. There is no one like him and there will never be.”
Krejci had difficulty comparing his game to that of Datsyuk’s, but had no problem comparing the B’s to the Wings, who were eliminated Thursday.
“I don’t know,” Krejci said when asked to compare himself to Datsyuk. “I don’t really care. I’m in the third round, and he’s done. It’s not just about skill players or about star players. You’ve got to have a good team, and I think that’s what we have. We have a better team than they do because we’re in the third round. We have a chance to go to the Stanley Cup final. They are done, so it’s different between me and him right now.”
|Claude Julien: Bruins ‘optimistic’ about Patrice Bergeron||05.13.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien has been asked about the status of Patrice Bergeron ever since the 25-year-old went down with a concussion in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, and he has yet to offer any update aside from that Bergeron is feeling better. Friday was no different, though Julien did share a laugh with the media.
“Well I think, I don’t know if you guys share a conference before I get here and say who’s asking the question today, but I am getting that question asked everyday,” Julien said. “I think he’s improving — he really is improving. We’re optimistic about him. As Peter [Chiarelli] said, we knew he was going to miss the start of the series and how much he is going to miss, I can’t tell you right now. But he is on the right track and we’re staying positive.
“Again, I say that every day. I’m not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions you have good news and you have setbacks and you have all kinds of things that can happen. I’m not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now that’s going in the right direction.”
Through 11 games, Bergeron leads the B’s with 12 points this postseason. Julien offered on Thursday that the center had not been doing any sort of workouts.
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