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Andy Brickley on M&M: NHL will ‘make an example’ of Shawn Thornton with lengthy suspension, but Brooks Orpik should have answered call to fight earlier 12.12.13 at 12:17 pm ET
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NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley joined Mut & Merloni via phone from Edmonton, where the B’s play Thursday night, for his weekly discussion about the team.

Shawn Thornton is awaiting word from the league how long he will suspended following his confrontation with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik in Saturday’s game.

“No question he crossed the line, he’s aware of that, and the league will obviously discipline him, use him as an example,” Brickley said. “This is the type of stuff that’s a hot-button issue in the National Hockey League — injuries, concussions, bad decisions, bad hits in the game. That’s what they’re trying to clean up, and it’s an opportunity for the league to really make an example of him, which they probably will do.

“Certainly in the moment, when we were doing the broadcast, when the initial hit [by Orpik on Loui Eriksson] was made and then Eriksson was concussed, obviously, no penalty on the play, I thought it was a borderline hit, could have been a penalty, could not have been a penalty. I have a hard time even with my experience knowing what’s a penalty and what’s not a penalty anymore. …

“When the first hit by Orpik was made on Eriksson, then he was challenged initially, if you remember, by Dougie Hamilton — no response. Then Shawn Thornton had the opportunity to challenge Orpik — no response. That’s when you know, because you’ve been there, that this is going to get ugly. Because if you’re not going to handle it the way the Bruins feel it should be handled, then people were going to start crossing lines and the game was going to get ugly. You knew it was going to happen, and I think that’s where it started to break down.”

Brickley said Orpik, who is known as a hard hitter but someone who does not fight, could have handled the situation better.

“This kid, he’s a good player, he’s a good hitter, he likes to hit in open ice,” Brickley said. “But he’s also got a reputation for a guy that hits the Loui Erikssons, the Jeff Skinners. He broke Erik Cole‘s neck from hitting him from behind. … When you have a reputation like that, you have to answer for those types of hits if you’re going to play that way. It’s plain and simple. That’s code. If you want to talk code, that’s code.”

Added Brickley: “Just flip it around if you want to have this kind of conversation. If Johnny Boychuck stands up and knocks Chris Kunitz on a borderline hit, interference, on-the-puck play, if you want to call it that, and Deryk Engelland comes over and challenges Boychuck, what does Boychuck do? … That’s how those plays get defused and you don’t get into the nasty anymore.”

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Read More: Andy Brickley, Brooks Orpik, James Neal, Jarome Iginla
Tyler Seguin shows Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins why it’s great to be a Bruin 11.11.11 at 8:25 am ET
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There’s no doubt that Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have All-Star careers ahead of them. By all accounts from NHL scouts, the pair are can’t miss talents that will help lead the Edmonton Oilers back to prominence.

Throw in Ryan Smyth, who had two goals Thursday, and you can see why their forward skill is envied by others around the league.

All three certainly showed their talent Thursday night.

But in the end, it was Tyler Seguin‘s Bruins who had the deeper roster and better defensemen as the B’s prevailed, 6-3.

Seguin already has a Stanley Cup ring.

Seguin was a second overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft while Hall and Nugent-Hopkins were the last two No. 1 overall picks. Seguin said it was fun taking it all in.

“Yeah, I mean it was fun,” the 19-year-old Seguin said, before referencing Nugent-Hopkins, who is a whopping one year younger than Seguin. “And then there were some ‘€“ you know, that new first overall kid ‘€“ I don’€™t know why I said kid; I’€™m a kid ‘€“ that was the first time I’€™d actually seen him play as well, and it’€™s cool seeing new talent coming into the league. They’€™re going to be a great team in a few years to come; they’€™ve got a lot of talent.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, NHL, NHL Draft
Bruins-Oilers Live Blog: Ryan Smyth has Oilers within one 11.10.11 at 6:57 pm ET
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Bruins-Oilers Live Blog

Read More: Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, Jordan Caron, Rich Peverley
Taylor Hall hopes history of keeping Tyler Seguin quiet repeats itself at 12:52 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin doesn’t remember whether he was matched up with Taylor Hall a lot in juniors, but Hall certainly remembers Seguin. When asked the same question Seguin couldn’t answer a day earlier, Hall said he learned enough from playing against Seguin in the OHL that he has an idea of how to silence the Bruins’ leading scorer.

“I’ve played against him a lot in the playoffs. Over the last few years of my junior career, I played against him probably 20 times, so I kind of know what he’s all about,” Hall said Thursday.

Hall’s Windsor Spitfires swept Seguin’s Plymouth Whalers in the playoffs in 2010, a series in which Hall — whose line was out there against Seguin’s — kept Seguin from registering a point, while Hall picked up eight points in the four-game series.

Now, the tables are turned quite a bit. It’s Seguin who’s doing better statistically (15 points for Seguin compared to Hall’s nine), and while the Oilers boast the far superior record of 9-3-1, Seguin is the one playing on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

For that reason, Hall’s line with fellow young guns Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle might have a trickier time keeping Seguin off the score sheet. Even so, Hall hopes to draw from experience as he tries to silence the line he figures to see plenty of Thursday night.

“We had to play him really hard,” Hall said of Seguin. “We couldn’t give him a lot of time with the puck especially. Tonight — his line’s playing great, with [Brad] Marchand and [Patrice] Bergeron — we’re going to try to limit their time and try to play in their end and make them come 200 feet to score on us.”

Read More: Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,
Seguin elaborates a bit more on expectations, playing time to Montreal Gazette 03.01.11 at 4:30 pm ET
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Bruins forward Tyler Seguin has had an up-and-down rookie season, and as a result his minutes have predictably gone up and down. It can’t be an easy thing for an 18-turned-19-year old to deal with, especially one who has dominated every level at which he has played previously.

Yet to Seguin’s credit, as unhappy with his ice time as he may be at times, he hasn’t let it seep its way onto the public record. He told me recently that he had previously been “blaming the wrong people” for a cut in ice time that included healthy scratches, but that he was done doing so. If he was more unhappy about it, he kept it to himself.

Yet in talking to the Montreal Gazette recently, he touched on a couple of the same subjects he’s been approached about over and over, and this time he elaborated a bit more.

“It’s hard to meet those expectations, whether it’s points or your individual bonuses in your contract when you get less opportunity and less ice,” Seguin told the Gazette. “But the coaches know what they’re doing to help me as a person and as a player.”

Seguin and Taylor Hall were as 1-and-1a as it gets in a given draft year, and the Oilers opted for Hall, the No. 2 prospect in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting. After a rough start, Hall has come into his own for an Oilers team that is on pace to finish last in the league for a second year. Seguin, despite some encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks, still has yet to hit his stride. He has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points this season, which puts him 17th amongst rookies. Hall’s 40 points (21 G, 19 A) puts him third, behind only Jeff Skinner (chosen after both players at seventh overall by the Hurricanes) and San Jose’s Logan Couture.

Seguin knew before last year’s draft that this could be the case if he came to Boston. Because they had Toronto’s first-round pick, the team that made it to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals would be able to add a type of player that generally would be given room to develop as a rookie.

‘€œIn the end it’s still the NHL so I’m happy to go to either team,’€ Seguin said in a conversation with WEEI.com prior to the draft. ‘€œI don’t have a preference. Edmonton is a Canadian city so they have a great fan base and they are a bit of a weaker team so there might be more opportunity there. With that being said, Boston’s already a contender. You can hop in the NHL and get a run for the Stanley Cup.’€

Now, he’s experiencing just that.

“That’s one of the things with coming to a top team,” Seguin told the Gazette. “The young guys aren’t going to get as many opportunities on this type of team as maybe a guy like Taylor Hall in Edmonton. Not taking anything away from him, he’s had a great year so far and I know he’s going to finish off strong, he always does. And I’m going to be going into the playoffs, and that’s where my head is at.”

Read More: Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,
Bruins can keep looking to the future (and thank the Maple Leafs) as Central Scouting releases midterm rankings 01.10.11 at 4:55 pm ET
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NHL Central Scouting has released its midterm rankings for players in the 2011 NHL Draft. A year ago, Plymouth Whalers (OHL) center Tyler Seguin was the No. 2 prospect at the midway point before surpassing fellow Windsor Spitfires winger Taylor Hall in the final rankings. The rest, as they say, is history, as the Oilers went for Hall over Seguin at with the top pick, and the B’s grabbed Seguin second overall.

The Bruins had that pick of course, from the Maple Leafs, who gave the B’s a pair of first round picks as part of their package for Phil Kessel.

Now, as the midterm rankings are released, the Bruins and their fans can think a bit more about the next major piece they’ll get to add thanks to the Kessel deal. The Leafs were expected to be an improved team this season, and they are — two whole spots.

If the draft lottery were to take place today, the B’s would be fourth in line given that the Leafs’ 36 points ranks 26th in the NHL. Who might their prize be? Judging by Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire’s comments to NHL.com, the Bruins wouldn’t be in bad shape if the Leafs’ pick wound up being the fourth overall choice.

McGuire suggested that this will not be a draft class like last year, which featured two concrete elite players in Hall and Seguin and then a bit of a dropoff.

“I would say at this point, with the number of viewings our scouts have had, as many as eight players could be taken first,” McGuire told NHL.com in the story. “The depth goes right through this draft. A cynic or somebody who’s characterizing this as a non-Sidney Crosby draft year only needs to know that whoever emerges in April at No. 5 on our list (Central Scouting’s final rankings), and in St. Paul as the No. 5 pick, could eventually be a better NHL player than No. 1. That said, this isn’t a Crosby draft year.”

Here are the best of both the North American and European skaters:

NORTH AMERICAN

1. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Kitchener (OHL), 6-foot-0, 207 pounds
– 25 goals in 32 OHL games this season; currently out with a high ankle sprain
2. Sean Couterier, C, Drummondville (QMJHL), 6-foor-4, 195 pounds
– Has 16+37=53 totals this season at Drummondville
3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Red Deer (WHL), 6-foot-0, 170 pounds
– Has 50 points in 39 games after totaling 65 in 67 contests last season
4. Jonathan Huberdeau, C, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-1, 168 pounds
– Has nearly doubled his 35 points from last season, as he has 65 in 40 games this year.
5. Tyler Biggs, RW, USA U-18 (USHL), 6-foot-2, 210 pounds
– Cincinnati native has four goals in 11 games
6. Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland (WHL), 5-foot-10, 175 pounds
7. Dougie Hamilton, D, Niagara (OHL), 6-foot-1, 6-foot-4, 193 pounds
8. Brandon Saad, LW, Saginaw (OHL), 6-foot-1, 208 pounds
9. Nathan Beaulieu, D, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-2, 185 pounds
10. Ryan Murphy, D, Kitchener, 5-foot-10, 176 pounds

EUROPEAN

1. Adam Larsson, D, Skelleftea (Sweden), 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
– Believed by one scout to be a better prospect now than Victor Hedman was two years ago
2. Joel Armia, RW, Assat (Finland), 6-foot-3, 191 pounds
3. Mike Zibanejad, C, Djurgarden Jr. (Sweden Jr.) 6-foot-1, 191 pounds
4. Jonas Brodin, D, Farjestad (Sweden), 6-foot-1, 165 pounds
5. Dmitri Jaskin, F, Slavia Jr. (Czech Jr.), 6-foot-1, 196 pounds

Read More: 2011 NHL Draft, Phil Kessel, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin still working to ‘figure this league out’ 12.18.10 at 1:22 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin knows that he’s been able to produce in the face of adversity. He’s done it since he’s been on the radar of hockey fans, but it might be a bit different at this level. That’s why he doesn’t want himself — or anyone else — to assume he’ll embark on a career-defining hot streak after being a healthy scratch earlier this week. Observe the following exchange.

WEEI.com: Obviously in juniors after that coaching change, and then when you didn’t make the World Juniors team last year, these things have seemed to spark a —

Seguin: Don’t. Don’t jinx it. Don’t keep going.

[A bit of background information: Seguin, who was taken ninth overall by the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL draft in 2008, wasn't producing like a top-10 pick out of the gate. He had just one goal in his first 17 games, and after coach Greg Stefan left to take a scouting gig with the Carolina Hurricanes, Seguin finished the season with 21 goals despite his slow start. This came after Mike Vellucci, who took over as coach, sat the then-16-year-old down and told him he expected him to produce regardless of age.

Last season, Seguin, the ninth-ranked prospect in the NHL draft, didn't make the World Junior Championship team and used it as motivation as he went on to lead the OHL with 48 goals and take over as the top-ranked prospect.]

Fast forward to mid-December.

Whether he liked it or not, Seguin was forced to take in Wednesday’s game against the Sabres from the press box, observing the pace of a game he’s still learning at a professional level. He sat alongside Doug Jarvis as the Bruins fell to the Sabres, 3-2.

“I got to sit up top and look at it from a different perspective, and that’s how the coach and GM wanted me to spend the game,” Seguin, seemingly understanding of the decision, said.

The 18-year-old followed the scratch with an encouraging showing in Montreal, making a nice play to get the puck to Andrew Ference to set up Marc Savard‘s first goal of the season. Seguin has just three points in his last 10 games, so he’ll look to build on whatever forward steps he can take after being kept out of the lineup.

“I always try to turn a negative into a positive,” Seguin said. “All it is is adversity. You’ll face it a million times in your hockey career, so it was just another experience of it. I wanted to come out with a strong game in Montreal, and I think I did that. I just want to stay consistent.”

As the second overall pick still gets his bearings and finds different ways to adjust to the NHL, top pick Taylor Hall has seemed to hit his stride, scoring 10 goals thus far. Still, Seguin knows that how a player performs in the early going of his rookie year does not exactly set the pace for one’s career production.

One of the players to whom he most often compared in Steven Stamkos (flip a coin on the frequency of comparisons of Seguin to Stamkos or Steve Yzerman) was also a healthy scratch at times as a rookie. Seguin, who has five goals thus far, kiddingly noted that Stamkos had four before Christmas prior to lighting it up with 20 goals after the holiday. In fact, Stamkos — the same guy who has 24 goals this season — only had three before Dec. 25. Regardless of the solace he may take in knowing he isn’t the first to deal with such adjustment to the NHL, Seguin isn’t trying to follow anyone’s path or try to be somebody he’s not.

“I just want to be Tyler right now,” Seguin said. “I want to find my own identity and figure this league out.”

Read More: Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,
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