|Claude Julien on Tyler Seguin: ‘As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him’||06.16.13 at 3:05 pm ET|
Given the speed and skill that allow him to take over a hockey game at his best, it’s easy to forget that Tyler Seguin is still younger than most college seniors. While Seguin hasn’t often played the game he’s capable of in these playoffs, Bruins coach Claude Julien, impressed with his young forward’s effort in Game 2 on Saturday, reminded reporters of Seguin’s relative inexperience on Sunday.
“He’s only a 21-year-old kid – this is his third year,” Julien said. “Sometimes patience doesn’t mean just for one year. Patience means a little more than a year. As long as he’s growing and getting better, I’m going to keep supporting him.”
Despite receiving a rogue fourth-place vote for the Selke trophy as the league’s best defensive forward this year, defense has not been a hallmark of Seguin’s game through the first three years of his career. In Game 2, though, he made a few plays of which Patrice Bergeron might have been proud, forcing turnovers and breaking up Blackhawks plays.
More notably, Seguin was alert enough to take advantage of a failed breakout pass in overtime on Sunday, setting Daniel Paille up with all kinds of space to score the game-winner. Seguin was skating with Paille and Chris Kelly, a line that accounted for both of the Bruins’ Game 2 goals, making perhaps his biggest contribution of the postseason in a bottom-six role.
True, one game won’t change the perception that Seguin doesn’t quite meet his potential in the playoffs. This year, he has one goal and five assists through 18 games. That’s in line with his numbers from 2011, when he saw limited time: three goals and four assists through 13 games.
|Morning skate notes: Andrew Shaw throws fit and we should all dwell on the fact that somebody gave Tyler Seguin a Selke vote||06.15.13 at 2:08 pm ET|
– It was tough to tell what the lines will be given that Jaromir Jagr was not on the ice, as he commonly abstains from morning skate. Because Jagr wasn’t out there, Tyler Seguin skated in Jagr’s place on Patrice Bergeron‘s line. That’s interesting because when Jagr has missed skates in the past, the team has put a healthy scratch, such as Carl Soderberg, in his place and kept the other lines the same. Perhaps Claude Julien saw enough in Seguin in Game 1 to put him back in the top six mix. Seguin has just one goal this postseason.
– Speaking of Seguin, No. 19 was amused by the fact that he received a fourth-place vote for the Selke trophy. The Selke is given to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game,” which Seguin, um, is not. Seguin is known for his elite offensive skill and skating, but he is one of the Bruins’ worst defensive players. He was surprised to see that somebody voted for him (it’s decided by the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association), and with three points, he was second among Bruins players in Selke voting (Bergeron had 1250). That means Seguin had more points than friend and actual good two-way forward Brad Marchand, which Seguin found entertaining.
– Andrew Shaw had an uncomfortable temper tantrum during the Blackhawks’ media availability. Because Patrick Kane‘s stall is next to his in the Blackhawks’ dressing room, Shaw had difficulty to access his stall given the media crowd. That prompted Shaw to kick a trash barrel across the room. Blackhawks PR calmed Shaw down in the corner away from the area.
– A reporter who may have been unfamiliar with Jagr’s tendency to miss morning skates asked Julien if Jagr was alright, to which Julien responded, “he’s 100 percent. He’s 41.”
|Pierre McGuire on M&M: Bruins ‘played with the heart of a champion’||06.13.13 at 8:08 pm ET|
NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire joined Mut & Merloni on Thursday afternoon to discuss Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and the ramifications of the Bruins’ marathon loss going forward.
Sure, the 4-3, triple-overtime loss was disappointing, McGuire said, but the Bruins don’t have much reason to be down on themselves going into Saturday’s Game 2.
‘Boston played with the heart of a champion, and I don’t expect it to be anything different [the rest of the series]. It could be a long, hard series,’ McGuire said. ‘I saw so many positive things from the Bruins. I saw a lot of positive things from the Blackhawks. These are the two best teams. There’s no Cinderella here. Both of these teams deserve to be in the Stanley Cup final.’
What will be interesting is when the series shifts back to Boston for Game 3 Monday and the Bruins get the last line change before the game time. McGuire suspects Claude Julien will match up Patrice Bergeron‘s line with that of Jonathan Toews, and David Krejci‘s unit with Michal Handzus.
Speaking of Bergeron’s line, McGuire also said Tyler Seguin is a likely candidate to play with Krejci and Milan Lucic should Nathan Horton be unable to play. Horton left Game 1 during the first overtime and did not return.
McGuire also expects Seguin, who has five points (one goal, four assists) and is a minus-2 in 17 playoff games, to break out soon.
‘He wants the puck. He wants to make a difference. His speed is very apparent, especially at ice level,’ McGuire said. ‘For those that weren’t at the morning skate [Wednesday], everything he shot went in. It was unbelievable watching him in practice. He was letter perfect with his passing and shooting. His skating is great. I just get the feeling he’s about the break out, I really do.”
McGuire gave much credit to goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, even calling Crawford ‘superhuman’ in the first overtime,’ and said while Torey Krug‘s crucial, third-period turnover was quite unfortunate, the defenseman can bounce back, just as the Bruins can.
‘It’s a tough situation for a young player, an undrafted player, to go into the Stanley Cup finals,’ McGuire said. ‘It was an egregious turnover. Obviously it ends up in the back of the net. Nobody wants to see that.
‘But I thought he got better as the game went along. I know they weren’t afraid to use him in overtime, and he had some good chances. They used him on the power play, too, with [Dennis] Seidenberg. He’s a young player. He’s going to grow. I think he’ll be better off with the experience. Was it his best game? No. Was it a terrible game? No. He just made one bad mistake.”
|Media day extras: Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard||06.11.13 at 9:38 pm ET|
CHICAGO — Media day is a big mess.
A typical day of work for a reporter (take a game day, for example) is reporting followed by writing, followed by more reporting and then more writing. On media day, it’s just a marathon of reporting followed by a marathon of writing, so it’s easy to let stuff slip through the cracks. Here’s a bunch of that stuff:
— Jaromir Jagr is dyeing his playoff beard. When asked to confirm that, he responded, “Got to look tough.”
— Speaking of Jagr, Jonathan Toews said he modeled his game after Jagr’s when he was younger.
“You’ve got to tell him to slow down a little bit,” Jagr said when hearing of the praise. “He’s too quick for me.”
Jagr has a very good sense of humor about his age and speed. He knows that he’s old and slow, but he’s effective. He opened the press conference by asking reporters if they were surprised he was still alive.
— A reporter asked Tyler Seguin if he’s hit puberty after busting his chops for over his playoff beard. It was super, super, super, super weird.
– Peter Chiarelli was asked about the job the general managers before him did for the Bruins, and he had high praise for Mike O’Connell and Jeff Gorton, the latter of whom made the Andrew Raycroft-for-Tuukka Rask trade.
“Mike O’Connell I think did a terrific job with Jeff, that we’ve got at least half of our roster, I don’t know if it’s half, but including [Brad] Marchand, [Milan] Lucic, [David] Krejci, [Tim] Thomas at the time. I thought they did a real good job.
“I’ve told Mike that. Mike was gone, I was the GM, but Jeff was the interim GM. He executed those trades.”
— Cam Neely gave a comically strange answer when asked about how he felt when the Bruins were down by three goals in the third period of Game 7 against the Maple Leafs.
“I went from today’s texting world to the feeling of ‘OMG,’ ” he said. “Then when we won in overtime, the same feeling. You’re peeking at the clock. It feels like it’s going down faster than you’d like. But, again, go back to my point earlier about the character of the guys, they didn’t quit, they didn’t give up.”
CHICAGO — When Tyler Seguin was in Switzerland for EHC Biel during the lockout, he tweeted a screenshot of his phone, showing a text message from a girl named “Don’t Text Her Bro” in his phone. Now, it’s only of his lockout teammates he isn’t texting.
Seguin played with Blackhawks star wing and 2007 first overall pick Patrick Kane for EHC Biel in Switzerland, and in addition to both having success (both players had more than a point per game, with Seguin racking up 40 points in 29 contests), the two became friends. They lived in the same building, where Kane’s mom — who was staying with the occasional troublemaker — was rumored to do Seguin’s laundry. For the record, Kane denied that. He did have high praise for his former Biel teammate, though.
“Just watching him in Switzerland, at first I thought for sure this kid’s one day going to lead the NHL in goals or maybe in scoring because of the skill he has and his shot, his speed and his smarts for the game, too,” Kane said. “I think you’ll see some special things from him in the future.”
Yet right now, anything that’s said will be about one another, and not to one another. With the Stanley Cup on the line, the two youngsters — who were teammates in a different league months ago — are now opponents on the biggest stage.
After the Bruins and Blackhawks clinched their berths in the Stanley Cup finals, Seguin got text a couple mass texts from Biel teammates. He saw that they were sent to Kane, too.
“He didn’t say anything and I didn’t say anything,” Seguin said. “We’re keeping the friendship to the side now.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Shutting down secondary scoring remains priority for new bottom six||06.07.13 at 1:58 pm ET|
The Penguins are going to give their biggest push Friday, and after outplaying the Bruins in Game 3, that should make the fourth win — as it usually is anyway — the toughest one to get.
Yet also facing the Bruins is the fact that they’ll be sporting a revamped bottom six. Regardless of whether the bottom six that Claude Julien put out in morning skate (Daugavins – Peverley – Seguin, Paille – Kelly – Thornton) sticks, the Bruins will be dealing with two different lines than usual.
That could be an advantage for the Penguins, as they are already a deeper team offensively than the Bruins (though this series wouldn’t tell you that), so their bottom two lines could take advantage of those of the Bruins as they try to get their footing.
“I don’t think it’s unfamiliar roles,” Chris Kelly said after Friday’s morning skate. “I think everyone’s played with one another in certain aspects not only this year, but in years past. It’s just one of those things that you plug in guys and they go out there and do a job. There’s chemistry between all six of us that play, so I don’t see it being a problem.”
The Penguins still have just two goals in the Eastern Conference finals — one from Chris Kunitz and one from Brandon Sutter. THat means that Pittsburgh has gotten one goal out of its top two lines and one from it’s bottom two.
So for as much attention is being paid to the Bruins shutting down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and friends, consider that the B’s — while not getting much secondary scoring themselves — have also kept the Penguins’ bottom two lines quiet.
“I think everyone wants to play their role and get their required job done,” Tyler Seguin, who has gone from a top-six guy to the bottom-six in this postseason, said. “I think it’s good D zone first with us, and it always has been. Whether it’s shutting down secondary scoring or whatnot, that’s what comes first. We’d obviously like to pop in a couple for ourselves if we can.”
Assuming the lines seen in morning skate are used Friday night, it will be interesting to see which one is used as a third line and which one is used as a fourth line. Kelly has no points the last 19 games, but his presence on the Merlot Line might mean more minutes than usual for what was once the Merlot Line.
|Thanks to Bruins winning games, Tyler Seguin not losing confidence||06.03.13 at 1:38 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — Tyler Seguin was sniffling Monday morning.
No, it wasn’t because he was sad that his numbers haven’t been there this postseason (one goal and three assists for four points), but because of his allergies. In fact, Seguin’s been upbeat despite his lack of offense. His coach and teammates gave him a vote of confidence Sunday, and he thinks he’s doing the right things to work his way out of his slump. Most importantly, as he plays on the third line following a demotion from the second line earlier in the playoffs, he’s trying to be as good as he can be on that line rather than making it about him.
“I’m playing my role on this team,” Seguin said. “I’m here to win games, not to want to score every single shift. Obviously it gets frustrating at times, but we’re winning games. It definitely makes you happy and it’s a fun time right now.”
Seguin’s played his way out of slumps like this before. After returning from Switzerland when the lockout ended, Seguin, who scored 29 goals last season, scored just once in Boston’s first eight games of the season. He got through it by focusing on the rest of his game and following Claude Julien‘s logic that when you concentrate on all aspects of the game, the offense will come.
“It’s just really doing more simple things, I guess, whether it’s making sure you don’t lose any battles out there or just being good in your own zone,” Seguin said. “That’s what I’m focusing on right now since the goals aren’t coming.”
The issues with Seguin’s game at this point don’t seem to be anything necessarily new. He can be a bit hesitant if there’s a possibility of contact, but he was the same way when he was lighting it up last year. He’s throwing a lot of pucks on net, which is good, although he had none in the Bruins’ Game 1 win over the Penguins.
It’s good that Seguin’s keeping positive, because as was evident with Milan Lucic during the regular season, a player can be in big trouble once they lose their confidence. Now the B’s just need Seguin to start producing, and quickly. The Penguins are going to score, and Seguin’s one of the Bruins’ best potential weapons in matching their production.
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