|Bruins beat Devils, 4-1||10.16.10 at 9:18 pm ET|
For the second straight game, it took until the second period for the Bruins to come alive offensively, but once they did, it was substantial enough to seal a victory. The B’s responded to a 1-0 Devils lead with four unanswered goals — one from each line — in the second off Martin Brodeur and hung on for a 4-1 victory at the Prudential Center.
Notable individual feats were accomplished for the Bruins, as Jordan Caron picked up his first NHL goal, Tyler Seguin had his first career assist, and Nathan Horton picked up his 300th career point in assisting Milan Lucic‘s tally.
Tim Thomas earned the victory for the Bruins, following up a shutout last Sunday with a 31-save effort.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- It was good to see Caron get his first career goal out of the way. The 19-year-old struggled with confidence and over-thinking things as the preseason wore on, and was a scratch in the season-opener as a result. After Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron took notice, Bergeron, who has served as a mentor for the rookie, took Caron out for dinner and Prague to remind him that he’d be fine if he stuck to his game. The two have been linemates since Sunday’s 3-0 victory and the jitters seem to be a thing of the past.
- There weren’t any real struggles for Seguin in the preseason, but it’s still greatly encouraging to see the rookie center do more than his specialty in scoring. Seguin’s pass to set up Michael Ryder‘s go-ahead goal in the second provided proof of two things: that the second overall pick is already making a big impact and that the chemistry between Seguin and Ryder, who had a down year last season, is something that could very well take off.
- It won’t be every game that the Brad Marchand - Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton line puts together a well-executed goal on Martin Brodeur, so let’s give credit where credit is due. It was Thornton’s first goal since the second game of last season, a 7-2 win over the Hurricanes at home.
- It will be very interesting to see how Claude Julien handles the decision of who starts in net for Tuesday, because Tim Thomas continued to prove on Saturday that he is no backup goalie. The 2008-09 Vezina winner stood on his head at various points of the night and kept it a close game in the early going.
Thomas made 31 saves on the night, doing so six days after stopping all 29 shots he faced in last Sunday’s 3-0 shutout over the Coyotes. Dainius Zubrus scored the lone Devils goal on a rebound in the second period.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
- Yes, it is but three games into the season, but the power play in its small sample size has not provided much to write home about. With the team’s 0-for-3 showing with the man advantage on Saturday, the Bruins are now 1-for-11 on the season, with Nathan Horton’s power-play goal in the third period of last Saturday’s 5-2 loss their lone saving grace.
To stick with special teams, the penalty kill was quite impressive, with Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Johnny Boychuk looking very sharp in killing off a 5-on-3 to end the first period.
- After having just two last Sunday, Blake Wheeler went all of Saturday without a shot on net. Wheeler didn’t exactly have a poor showing on Saturday, but he’ll need to read a certain Wayne Gretzky quote if he wants to improve on his 18-goal mark from last season.
|Tyler Seguin up to speed, won’t ‘over-respect’ Martin Brodeur, Devils||10.14.10 at 2:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Anyone with access to YouTube can be the judge of whether Tyler Seguin‘s first goal as a member of the Bruins rivaled Jordan Eberle‘s first NHL tally. Seguin pointed out on Sunday with grin that the Oilers rookie’s first goal was more impressive than his breakaway clinic on hand-eye coordination despite not having seen his own goal’s replay.
Four days later, could Seguin have avoided even seeing his replay in the time following the team’s 3-0 win over the Coyotes? Likely not. Friends have directed him to websites showcasing the play, while family members have texted him support. The second overall pick actually did not call his parents in Prague following the game, given that the team was hurrying to leave for Boston, and he joked that the long-distance charges would make the call to Ontario a “pretty pricey call.” Despite not being able to hear the reaction from his folks, Seguin is pretty confident he could imagine the scene.
“I think my mom was screaming probably,” Seguin said.
Much had been made during the summer and the preseason of how Seguin would adjust to the NHL in the early going. So far, it’s been as predicted — it seems he’ll have an impact as a scorer, while the rest of his game fills out. One positive about the former OHL MVP is that he’s more concerned with on-ice adjustments than he is about dealing with nerves. He’s been a hyped prospect for too long to make him shy on the professional ice. In fact, he noted that O2 Arena didn’t even bring out the most nerves he’s felt thus far in the process.
“I think I was more nervous going into the first preseason game against Montreal than I was for my first NHL game for whatever reason,” Seguin said. “It was kind of the same game, but the pace was much different [Saturday]. It really took only one period to adapt, but I feel pretty comfortable out there now.”
Unlike some of his teammates, Seguin had been to Prague multiple times, so seeing the city was nothing new. As much as the “team bonding” thing has been played up in wake of the trip, Seguin didn’t view it as something that should be overlooked. He felt the trip brought players closer together, with the re-signings of Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara evidence that the team is what he called “a big family.”
Seguin had an interesting take when asked Thursday how he felt about facing a future Hall of Fame goaltender in Devils’ netminder Martin Brodeur. Seguin, 18, noted that though he is a younger player who grew up watching many of the players still in the league, getting anxious to face certain players is not the right way to look at things.
“Every single team is going to have their superstars. I don’t really look at that,” Seguin said. “Obviously, I’m always going to be a hockey fan, but I’m still here. This is my job now. I’m not going to over-respect too many people with the opposition. If you give people too much respect, they’ll take your game right away from you.”
Brodeur made 24 saves on Wednesday night in the Devils’ 1-0 victory over the Sabres. It was Brodeur’s 111th career shutout.
|Mike Milbury on D&H: Tyler Seguin ‘not an impact player’||10.13.10 at 1:22 pm ET|
NESN and NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury made the first of his weekly appearances on the Dale & Holley show Wednesday to talk about the Bruins. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
Asked about rookie Tyler Seguin and the impact he could have this season, Milbury said Bruins fans will need to be patient. “I’ll answer the question without having seen him enough: He’s not going to be an impact player this season. He’s not,” Milbury said. “Those players are very few and far between. I’d put big money that he’s not an impact player. Does he get 15-20 goals? Maybe. Thirty points, 50 points tops, but that’s not an impact player. And when [Marc] Savard comes back — and I assume he will — he’ll have a tough time finding ice time.”
With the Bruins signing Zdeno Chara to a seven-year contract extension last week, Milbury voiced his displeasure with long-term deals, citing the risk of injury and psychological letdown. “I don’t like it. I don’t like it for anybody, let alone the Bruins,” Milbury said. “And they’re not the only ones making questionable decisions with the salary cap. I mean, the team they play next, New Jersey, is a mess. They can’t even dress the full complement of players because of the cap issue.”
Added Milbury: “I don’t like long-term contracts. It’s a heartbeat away. You never know what these contracts will do a player’s psyche. This is not baseball. It’s not like you might not get hurt. You’re going to get hurt. It’s just how seriously.
“The team has made its bet on these core players. And we’ll find out in two years, three years maximum whether this core has the stuff to win a Stanley Cup championship. But the bet’s been made. And we’ll find out if it was a good one or not.”
|Good morning, the Bruins are playing||10.09.10 at 6:18 am ET|
PRAGUE — After taking in the Bruins’ final skate before they take the ice for real against the Coyotes, it’s quite apparent that they’ve had enough of the preseason. It’s been a blast seeing Europe for some of these guys, but they’re ready to begin the process of making last season’s playoff collapse a distant memory.
Camp has been long enough. We’ve had the opportunity to do different things and try different things and get our team ready for the season-opener. Now it’s time to get going here. I think everybody’s anxious to get the regular season going.
“It’s a different feeling,” Nathan Horton said following the skate. “The preseason is nice, but this is a different feeling already this morning [in practice]. Everyone’s excited it’s finally here.”
Horton and second overal pick Tyler Seguin have both been cast as the offensive saviors for a club that finished last in the NHL with 2.39 goals per game last season. While both have impressed in the preseason — Horton more so than Seguin based on experience — Claude Julien cautioned those on hand Saturday morning to not place too high of expectations on the young scorers.
“I don’t think we should expect more [from Horton and Seguin] than we should expect from the rest of our team,” Julien said. “Those guys have come in and they know what their strengths are and what they need and want to do to help this team succeed. That’s basically what we need from those kind of guys. Horton’s a guy who can score goals, and I think he’s proven throughout the preseason that he can do that, and we expect him to continue doing that.
“A young kid like Seguin, with three goals in the last two games, I think he’s already proven that he can play at this level, and we have to give him that opportunity to keep growing with our hockey club without putting excess pressure on his shoulders. I think it’s up to us as a team to really come together.”
Horton, the third overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft, spent the first six seasons in the NHL with the Panthers, never once tasting playoff hockey. He’s voiced his excitement with the town and the organization since being acquired in June via trade, but he hasn’t been the only one chirping since the move. Prognosticators have been particularly high on Horton now that he’s a Bruin, and though he’s had just one 30-goal season to this point, some feel he could be a 40-goal scorer.
In chatting with Horton after the skate, it seemed as good a time as any to ask. Over or under 40 goals this season?
Horton, who smiles so much that this writer suspects it could just be his bone structure, grinned and responded, “I’m aiming [for it]. I’m trying my best.”
Horton, 25, will skate on the first line, centered by David Krejci with Milan Lucic on the left wing. The line makes for one of the more physical first lines throughout the league, with Horton having a reputation for his physicality and Lucic a fan favorite for his bruising style of play. As a result, Horton reiterated his stance that Lucic, 22, is “the ultimate hockey player.”
“We have a pretty tough team. You have to use it to your advantage. Any time you’re playing a team that’s tough, it’s hard to play against [them]. It’s not fun, and we want to make it like that tonight.”
The defensive pairings have been tough to get a read on due to how much they’ve been moved around, but here’s a safe bet for the forward lines for Saturday night.
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Wheeler- Bergeron – Recchi
Paille – Seguin – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
Expect Tuukka Rask to be in net.
Here are the preseason leaders, courtesy of the Bruins.
1. Patrice Bergeron, 4
1. Tyler Seguin, 4
3. Nathan Horton, 3
4. Brad Marchand, 2
1. Patrice Bergeron, 4
1. Zdeno Chara, 4
1. Matt Bartkowski, 4
4. Shawn Thornton, 3
4. David Krejci, 3
1. Patrice Bergeron, 8
2. Tyler Seguin, 5
2. Zdeno Chara, 5
4. Matt Bartkowski, 4
Here’s one final big-picture quote from Julien this morning:
“Everybody has something that they excel in, as far as their roles are concerned, whether it’s goal-scoring, whether it’s physical play. If we put it all together and we do it well, we’ve got a pretty good hockey club.”
|Mean streets: Why Daniel Paille is out 200 CZK||at 5:18 am ET|
PRAGUE — As anyone who’s been there will tell you, Prague is a beautiful city. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and it’s a great town to walk through. Reading about it would suggest that pickpocketing would prevent one from taking too many strolls, but this writer’s experience has suggested far to the contrary.
That isn’t to say that a North American doesn’t run a risk of losing some cash on the streets of good ol’ Praha, as third-line winger Daniel Paille can now attest to. Walking to the team’s hotel, located in downtown Prague, Paille and sports psychologist Max Offenberger, who is travelling with the team, were ticketed Thursday for jaywalking. The offense cost Paille and Offenberger 200 Czech Crowns apiece.
Do you know how much money that is?
Very, very little. It’s a little more than $11.
Though he was fine with the fine, Paille was caught off guard when approached by the two heroic officers who put an end to his reckless steps.
“We were walking across the street and the cops were right on the corner,” Paille said. “They let us walk to the corner of the street and gave us a ticket.”
So they just let it happen? They didn’t try to stop you?
“Oh yeah. They were right there. I had heard that they gave tickets for jaywalking, but I wasn’t actually sure how serious they were about. Yeah, they’re pretty serious,” Paille added with a laugh.
After dealing with the two officers, one of whom was English-speaking, the other “having no clue” what they were saying, Paille would like to put his law-breaking days behind him. One can only hope that the mild-mannered Paille hasn’t developed a reputation around Prague.
“I don’t think so. Not for jaywalking, anyways,” Paille said. “It’s kind of funny how it all turned out, but obviously it’s a good story.”
TYLER SEGUIN’S OTHER GIFT
Seguin is considered one of the top young talents in the league without having played in a regular season game. His skills make him projectable as eventually being one of the league’s premier scorers, but Saturday morning revealed another talent of his: impersonating Daniel Paille just well enough to fool this reporter.
In chatting with Paille about his own development, I asked him if he feels that at age 26, he’s reached his potential yet, or if the former 20th overall pick has a ways to go before arriving at his ceiling.
“Obviously, it’s something that I’ve been looking forward to, that I’d want in my career,” Paille said of becoming a better offensive player. “I’m definitely looking to help out offensively throughout this coming season.”
With my head in my notepad, writing down his comments, I ask him what he thinks of skating on the third line. What does he make of Seguin?
“Oh, he’s a beauty.”
Heh? Players throughout the locker room have spoken highly of Seguin and his scoring touch, but practically busting out a classic from The Tubes for the rookie? Really? I look up to see a grinning Seguin passing by and pinch-hitting for Paille in the discussion.
|Tyler Seguin scores two as Bruins take Belfast game, 5-1||10.02.10 at 4:13 pm ET|
BELFAST — The Bruins got some huge cheers from the Odyssey Arena Saturday night, but after the Belfast Giants took a 1-0 lead on them in the second period, the team made it clear they would end their Northern Ireland trip with more than just fanfare.
Tyler Seguin, Zdeno Chara, and Brad Marchand all scored over the space of a minute following the Giants’ goal, their lone tally off of Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. Milan Lucic added one of his own in the third, with Seguin tacking on another on a penalty shot to give the Bruins a 5-1 lead that they would hold for the rest of the game.
The game featured no fights, though Shawn Thornton, who has received plenty of attention given his mother’s return to Belfast (her place of birth) did pick up two assists for the Bruins.
From Belfast the Bruins will travel to the Czech Republic, where they will play first three games. They’ll have an exhibition game in Liberec on Oct. 5 before opening the regular season with two games against the Coyotes in Prague on Oct. 9 and 10.
|Wheeler sees Seguin conquering rookie speedbumps early||at 8:25 am ET|
BELFAST — Since arriving in Belfast we’ve been able to take closer looks at how lines are gelling as the regular season inches closer and closer. The first line admittedly is looking forward to breaking out of preseason flashes of greatness, while the second line seems to be both stable and intriguing.
It’s hard to argue that any Bruins line could be more intriguing than the third. The line, centered by second overall pick Tyler Seguin, sees a potential franchise player in between two scorers coming off down years in Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler. For a time, Claude Julien and the Bruins had considered playing Wheeler at center on the line, but ultimately decided that they wanted to take advantage of playing Seguin at his natural position for as long as Marc Savard is out with post-concussion syndrome symptoms.
So, one week before his real NHL debut, what have we seen from Seguin? Like top picks in years past, a lot of proof that he’s an elite talent and some proof that he’s still getting familiar with the NHL surroundings. As for the talent, he can show it off if he wants to, as he did on a goal in practice Thursday that fused fancy stick-handling with deke that made him look more like Brandon Tate on his kickoff return against the Bengals. It’s at spots like those where his natural talent explains how he scored 48 goals a season ago.
Then there are the reminders that he’s still 18 and that he’s adjusting to a new league, new linemates, new everything. Between the rookie games and the Bruins’ preseason games, he’s had a few slip-ups in his own end, something he admittedly feels is the biggest adjustment.
“I think it’s more defensively,” Seguin said of any challenges he’s faced to this point. “… Obviously there have been little things that you have to adapt to, and I’ve just been doing my best. Usually I am a pretty quick learner, and that’s just what I’ve been trying to do. I just want to stay as consistent as I can with the little things I’m learning.”
Wheeler may have the best seat in the house for watching Seguin’s progress, something he already feels has come a long way. Technically, Wheeler was competing with Seguin for that third center spot, but given both of the players’ willingness to play either position (they both have plenty of experience at both center and on the wing), it really wasn’t a competition at all. In fact, Wheeler sees some of his own situation of a couple years ago when skating with Seguin. Once a top-five pick himself (Coyotes, 2004), Wheeler knows what it’s like to try to make an impression while getting a feel for a new league.
“Tyler’s new on the team, so just getting him adjusted to the physical demands of playing at this level and playing within our system. Once he gets down where to play on the ice, it’s going to make things a lot easier for him, it’s going to slow down the game for him, and you’re going to see his natural abilities come out,” Wheeler said. “He’s a great young player. Like anything else — I remember my first year — it takes a little bit of time to know where to be on the ice at the right times. Once he’s there, he’s just going to take off.”
A year after his senior campaign at the University of Minnesota, Wheeler signed with the Bruins and strung together a 21-goal season out of the gate. After taking a step backwards in his second season with 18 tallies, he’s on a new line with a center he has a great deal of faith in. Even if Seguin makes mistakes in the early going, Wheeler feels the more opportunities the reigning OHL MVP gets to learn from, the closer his comfort will be to matching his skill set.
“It’s all repetition, you know? He just needs to be kind of thrown into the fire like he is,” Wheeler said. “Get him in there and just let him kind of learn by trial and error. He’s going to see that when he’s in the right spots in our system, when he’s keeping things simple, it makes the game a lot easier out there. If you’re trying to do too much at this level, you’re going to be exposed, and I think he’s probably getting a little taste of that right now.”
Julien feels the same way, but places a great deal of stress on the players noticing each speed bump as they come across them. Regardless of star status or any other variable, if the player can diagnose the differences from league to league, Julien feels they’re on the right track.
“I think it’s not just Tyler, but anybody who would come in here and be in their first pro camp or first time with us … a first-year player comes in and learns that the pro game is a little different than the junior game, or even the college game for that matter,” Julien said. “At this level here, guys are most of the time in good position to either be outlets, and at the same time, they realize that those little details, they’ll be the first ones to tell you that those things seem to mean a lot in our game.”
The expectations are high on Seguin, but on a team in which each line has a newcomer to the squad, (Nathan Horton, Jordan Caron, Seguin, and Gregory Campbell on lines one through four, respectively) he may not be the only one dealing with an adjustment. His learning process may have huge payoff for the Bruins, and both the team and the city of Boston hope to reap the benefits.
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