- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- With the subtraction of Patrice Bergeron (concussion) from the Boston Bruins’ lineup, coach Claude Julien decided to keep Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand together, and add newly acquire winger Jaromir Jagr to that line.
With Bergeron out, Seguin will play center. The 21-year-old played mostly center during his junior career, but has played primarily right wing since his debut with the Bruins during the 2010-2011 season.
“We put him [Seguin] there because we think he can,” Julien said. “We’ll see. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s played there most of his career and giving him that opportunity is something he deserves, so we’ll see how it goes. If not, coaches will do what they do and adjust.”
Seguin enters Thursday game against the New Jersey Devils with 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 35 games, while sporting a plus-22 rating. Now, he’ll have more responsibilities as the team’s second-line center, especially replacing a player like Bergeron, who is arguably the best two-way player in the NHL and the reigning Selke Award winner.
“It’s going to be a little different for him,” Julien said of Seguin. “He’s not on the wall right now, he’ll have to be low and support, and he’s going to have to cover a little bit more territory. That’s something we all know Bergy does extremely well, so [Seguin’s] got some big shoes to fill. We don’t expect him to fill them, but we expect him to go out there and do a decent job like everybody else. We have the confidence. He can skate and more responsibility means another chance to get better as a player and mature as a guy you can put in different situations.”
The Bruins’ top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton remains the same. The third line now consists of Jay Pandolfo, Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins. The energy line of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton remains the same, too.
Once Bergeron is able to return (and the Bruins believe he will), Julien will have more line shuffling to do. But for now, he’ll try it this way.
“We’re going to look and see where the fit is best, and not just for Jaromir Jagr, but for everybody else,” Julien said. “It’s not just about him, it’s about fitting guys in areas where they can be good for us. We have to look at the overall picture before we make those final decisions. We’re hoping Bergy’s going to be back at some point and that way we’ll have a clearer picture.”
When Julien first learned of the addition of Jagr, he asked Chiarelli one simple question.
“I asked if it really was a done deal,” Julien said with a laugh, referring to the Jarome Iginla situation. “I wouldn’t believe it until it was publicized on TV. I think he’s a great, great addition. This is a guy who can certainly help our hockey club in many different ways. He’s a guy that can certainly make plays. He’s a big guy and he protects the puck so well. He’s strong on his stick, and the power play is another area that he can fit in. There’s so much I think he can bring, and with our club and the way we play, there’s no doubt he’ll blend in very well.”
8dJoe McDonald and Kyle Brasseur
44dKyle Brasseur, Special to ESPNBoston.com