|Tyler Seguin gets his power play work, Claude Julien still cautious with the rookie||05.16.11 at 1:54 pm ET|
When a lineup spot opened for Tyler Seguin to make his long-awaited playoff debut, one didn’t have to be a Seguin apologist to feel the rookie would be on one of the Bruins’ power play units. Yet in a 5-2 Game 1 loss the Lightning Saturday in the Eastern Conference finals, Seguin stayed on the bench as the B’s went 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
On Monday, coach Claude Julien had Seguin skate with the No. 2 power play unit in practice.
‘I guess it’s exciting,” Seguin said in his classic understated style. “I’m pretty sure I’m not starting on the power play but it’s just in case if we have a couple and we want to try something new, getting me out there so I’m ready and prepared for that. I think I move the puck around pretty well, I have good speed so I’m going to bring that to my game and a lot of times, that helps on the power play.
“I think it’s just about being ready and I think that’s why they threw me out there this morning. It’s the first time I’ve skated with the power play in over a month and a half. It’s definitely nice being out there, and moving the puck around and getting my feet wet.’
Julien explained Sunday that he gave thought to using Seguin out there after a couple of ugly man advantages in the second period, but that he liked what he saw from the power play going forward. He showed Monday that he’s still at least entertaining the idea, as Seguin saw time working with the second unit prior to Monday’s practice.
“We want to make the power play work,” Julien said after practice. “And it’s never a bad thing to have those guys go through it and if at one point you need him, you need him. And what I said yesterday was exactly what we wanted to do with Tyler.”
Julien also has pointed to Seguin’s development as a reason why he hasn’t given the rookie major minutes or opportunities. He noted that it’s not uncommon for big-name players to be held back here and there as youngsters, choosing against the obvious Steven Stamkos comparison and instead likening Seguin’s development to that of a player who shined against the B’s in the second round.
“He’s a young player that we care about and want to make sure that we develop him properly,” Julien said. “That’s part of the decision we’ve made as an organization is not to rush him through anything. The example is probably [James] van Riemsdyk from Philly, how good he’s been this year, yet he was a healthy scratch a lot of time last year and he’s turned out to be a pretty good player.
“Everybody has an opportunity to develop their players the way they want, and we’re doing that. And we understand the quality of player we’ve got and what he’s going to, what he can bring and what he’s going to bring in the future. And those are part of the things we keep doing with him and we’ve done with him all year is make him participate in all those areas where he’s going to be hopefully a big factor for us in the future.”
In addition to working the power play, Seguin was working with a new center on Monday at practice – Chris Kelly, who was dropped to the third line so Rich Peverley could be moved up to the No. 2 line with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.
The main reason – as Seguin acknowledged – was the fact that Seguin’s line was on the ice for the first two goals in a 19-second span Saturday night.
‘He’s definitely a great all-around forward, especially his D-zone so I think he’s with us because we had two goals scored on our line there in the first period so I think he’s going to help bring a good D-zone to our line,’ Seguin said of Kelly.
NHL analyst and former Bruin Aaron Ward joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to talk about the Eastern Conference finals, which the Bruins trail 1-0 after Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to the Lightning. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Ward cautioned Bruins fans not to panic despite the rough start.
“It’s a feeling-out process,” he said. “It’s funny to listen to Tampa talk about all the time they had off, and [Martin] St. Louis was utterly concerned about the rust level. They obviously didn’t show a whole lot of rust in Game 1. And I think Boston did. That’s why it’s seven games. The sky’s not falling yet. There’s no Chicken Little yet.”
The Bruins power play continues to be a disaster, with an 0-for-4 performance in Game 1 making the B’s 2-for-41 in the postseason. However, Ward said he doesn’t think rookie Tyler Seguin is the answer.
“If they were going to shake it up they would have done it a while ago,” he said. “Right now, if the stat’s right, they’ve got the third-worst power-play percentage in the last 25 years in the playoffs. And that’s just one of those things where maybe it’s a personnel thing. And it’s not that someone’s not getting it done. But maybe you shake it up and you integrate some of the first power play with the second power play, get some new life, new blood in it.
“And I know everybody’s screaming for Seguin, but I think you have enough veteran guys in that locker room that can figure it out amongst themselves. You don’t need to put a young guy on and put the pressure on him to direct the power play.”
Ward said Claude Julien was proven correct to avoid making major moves when the Bruins fell behind the Canadiens 2-0 in the opening round, and that’s the way he’ll continue to manage his team.
“It’s how Claude coaches,” Ward said. “And Claude has my utmost respect. He’s a guy that sticks with what got him there. He’s not a knee-jerk-reaction kind of coach. He knows what he wants out of his team. He knows the philosophies to take into a game. Everybody was screaming for Seguin during the Montreal series and they get out of it. Then they cruise through Philadelphia. It’s part of the playoffs.
“Everybody looks for that, ‘Well, it’s a quick fix.’ It’s not a quick fix. One player doesn’t change the direction of an entire team. Twenty guys on the ice can have that effect. One guy doesn’t have it. One guy can hurt a team. But one guy can’t drastically improve the percentage of winning a team. A guy getting in there, a guy like Seguin can do a lot of things ‘ like, nice, young, fresh legs, very healthy, fresh outlook on the game ‘ and be a catalyst in that manner. But he’s got to be given an opportunity to get himself accustomed to the playoffs.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien made the decision to mix up the second and third lines in Monday’s practice, but speaking after the skate, he hardly sounded like a man who had his Game 2 lineup set in stone.
Rich Peverley made the jump to the second line in the practice after playing Game 1 between Tyler Seguin and Michael Ryder. Peverley skated Monday with Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, while Chris Kelly took his spot on the third line with. Center Patrice Bergeron rotated in with the second line during line drills, centering Marchand and Recchi (his usual trio), as well as Marchand and Peverley.
Julien said he doesn’t know whether he will have Bergeron for Game 2, and that Monday’s lines were put in place to give him more options should he feel a change is in order.
“Just moving guys around a little bit,” Julien said following the practice. “I think it’s important that if we’re going to [mix up lines], that they get used to playing with each other. Kelly has an opportunity to play with that line and has gotten used to them a little bit. Now Peverley [has skated with Recchi and Marchand] and I’ve got some options. Just giving some thought to maybe different combinations if need be, and tomorrow we’ll decide which one we want to go with.”
Mixing up the second and third lines would be nothing new for Julien this series. He moved Seguin up to the second line with Kelly and Marchand in the third period of the team’s Game 1 loss, with Recchi moving down to the third line with Peverley and Ryder.
‘I think me and Kells [Chris Kelly] might do some switching off,” Peverley said. “I think it’s just to give an option down the middle there. I’m just going to try and play my game. I’m not going to try and be Bergy. He’s a tremendous player. I’ll just try and use my speed.
‘Usually, you try and prepare to play with anybody. And you want to be able to play with anybody. I don’t think it’s going to be any different at all.’
As for what needs to change, Peverley broke out a time-tested but very appropriate hockey cliche.
‘We played well but we didn’t play a full 60 minutes,” Peverley said. “Obviously, you make mistakes at this time of year, they end up in the back of your net. Some costly mistakes, a little bit of a lull there and within a minute-25 seconds, we’re down 3-0. We can’t let that happen and we have to be fully prepared.’
|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.
|Video: Bruins react to game one loss to Lightning||at 12:43 am ET|
|Bruins drop Game 1 to Lightning||05.14.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
The Bruins put themselves in a familiar spot Saturday, as they dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Lightning at home, 5-2.
The B’s lost Game 1 of the first round to the Canadiens at TD Garden before dropping Game 2 but battling back to win the series in seven games. There’s plenty of hockey left to be played, and Boston will have to hope for different results and better handling of the puck going forward.
The Lightning got their scoring out of the way with one crushing wave in the middle of the first period. Sean Bergenheim continued his league-leading scoring pace, notching his eighth goal of the postseason at 11:15, with Brett Clark beating Tim Thomas on a backhander 19 seconds later. Teddy Purcell scored off an ugly Tomas Kaberle turnover at 12:40, making it three goals for Tampa Bay in a matter of 1:25. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored the Lightning’s fourth goal on the power play at 13:37 of the third period while Simon Gagne added an empty-netter.
Tyler Seguin, playing in his first postseason game, a nifty goal at 15:59 of the first period. Chris Kelly’s tally came with 1:01 left in a game the Bruins had already lost.
Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves for the Lightning in the victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Two of the the goals scored by the Lightning in a matter of 85 seconds came off bad turnovers by the Bruins. With a big mess in front of Tim Thomas’ net, a stick-less Dennis Seidenberg kicked the puck right onto the stick of Sean Bergenheim, who fired the puck in for his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Yet while Seidenberg’s play certainly came in a hectic moment, the sam could not be said for the third goal. Teddy Purcell skated right in and reached behind the net to mug Kaberle and tuck the puck past Thomas. Two unassisted goals against were not what the B’s were looking for.
– Foolish move by Milan Lucic late in the game, as the 22-year-old winger clocked Victor Hedman in the face with 36.7 left in the game. He was tossed from the game, and should he face further discipline, a Bruins team that’s already missing Patrice Bergeron could be in big trouble.
– Thomas has been great this postseason, but he would definitely like to have the Lightning’s second goal back. Brett Clark carried the puck through the neutral zone and down the right wing before beating Thomas stick-side with a fluttering backhander. Soft goals are always bad, but this one was even more devastating because it came just 19 seconds after Tampa’s first goal.
After the three goals, Thomas came up big for the B’s multiple times. He absolutely robbed Steve Downie with a little more than 5:30 left in the seconds to keep it a two-goal game.
– Seemingly in an effort to get some more life out of the Bruins’ offense, Claude Julien swapped Seguin and Mark Recchi in the third period. Seguin skated with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, while Recchi went to the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it yielded no results, and the lines reverted back to the way they began the game.
– It’s cliche at this point to list the power play as a wrong, but as long as it continues to do nothing, it’s going to be here. Normally when a team’s down by two goals, three power plays in a period would be exactly what it needs to get back in the game. Not for the Bruins, though. They didn’t even threaten on their three man advantages in the second, as they consistently struggled to enter the zone. When they did get the puck in deep, it often came right back out either due to losing puck battles or making bad passes. An example of this came when Seidenberg cycled the puck back to nobody and out of the zone. The B’s mustered only three shots in their three second-period power plays and finished the night 0-for-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It was only fitting that Seguin’s first career playoff goal be of highlight-reel variety. The rookie, who scored his first goal of the season in Prague on a Hail Mary pass from Ryder before crashing into the net, made the Garden crowd go nuts with his first-period goal. Seguin took a pass from Ryder in the neutral zone and proceeded to make Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin look foolish as the rookie used fancy stickwork to go through the defenseman before sliding it past Roloson.
It was predictable that Seguin wouldn’t get big minutes, but Claude Julien took it to a bit of an extreme, even despite the rookie’s goal. Seguin would have to wait 14:56 worth of hockey before he’d get back on the ice, as his next shift did not come until 11:55 into the second period. He had only two shifts in the second period, though he threw a nice hit on Lundin in the corner on of of them, providing a small sample of physical play, an area in which he’s rarely been engaged in his rookie year.
– Not that any of the ensuing power plays led to anything, but give David Krejci for drawing a pair of Lightning infractions. The first-line center drew two different tripping calls on Tampa Bay in the second period, as both Eric Brewer and Adam Hall went off for tripping Krejci.
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Rob Bradford, Joey the Fish and a cast of others as the Bruins take the ice in the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 1992. Ask questions, comment on the game, or just sit back and enjoy the different views. The fun starts at 7:30 p.m.
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