Bruins: Tyler Seguin
But let's get this straight: It was the right decision, period.
Peter Chiarelli sent Seguin, fellow forward Rich Peverley and prospect Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow on July 4, and Boston clearly won out in the deal.
From a statistical standpoint, Seguin had an impressive season with the Stars, posting 37 goals and 47 assists for 84 points in 80 games. But the contributions Eriksson, Smith and Fraser made for the Bruins were highly impressive. Now, with a full season of experience in the Bruins’ organization, those players will only get better.
Smith made major contributions and proved he will be a strong asset to the Bruins for a long time.
“I don’t think anyone expected Reilly to have the year that he had," said Bruins president Cam Neely on Tuesday. "We knew what type of player he could be, but it came probably quicker than we expected.”
Eriksson wasn’t at his best. A pair of early-season concussions briefly altered his game. Once he returned from the Olympics, he was a better player and finished strong.
“Loui, I think he came in, and it was a difficult transition for him, and then he got hurt. We think he can be a better player, he’s proven to be a better player, and that’s our expectation, that he can be a better player,” Neely said.
Fraser had an outstanding season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins, and made an instant impact when he was called up and scored the game-winning OT goal against the Canadiens in Game 4.
And Morrow is in the pipeline.
“Morrow we have in Providence, who is a really skilled defenseman that needs time to develop,” Neely said.
All in all, Neely is satisfied with how the deal has impacted the Bruins.
“You can always look back at any trade, any transaction and say ‘what if.’ The deal is done, and we’ve got our players that helped us actually have the best record in the NHL in the regular season,” Neely said. “We could have gotten more out of everybody in the playoffs, and I expect those guys to improve.”
SP: Hey, Joe. Hope all is well in Boston. Certainly hope your winter has been more forgiving than ours in Chicago. Of course, Bruins versus Blackhawks around the corner. It's crazy to think it's already been six-plus months since they met in the Stanley Cup finals. I know we both recently wrote year-in-review stories. For me, going back, watching game videos, looking through those stories and box scores, it just reminded me how incredible that series was from that memorable Game 1 to how Game 6 played out. So many of those games could have gone either way. The series had a bit of everything for everyone.
SP: Let's not talk about football. Whether the Bears were going to keep their defensive coordinator was the meatiest story here in recent few weeks. Back to the ice, I know one of the major topics leading into this season for the Blackhawks was how they would respond to a short offseason and if there would be the so-called Stanley Cup hangover. It was part of the reason they felt their last Cup defense was rocky. Ultimately, they didn't endure that this season. They have gone through a bit of a rough patch in the last few weeks, but they put themselves in a comfortable position with a positive start. Did the Bruins have to deal with any effects this season from that same long run and short offseason?
JM: For the record: I'm picking the Patriots this weekend. The Bruins certainly dealt with that "hangover" after winning the Cup in 2011. This time around, however, that hasn't been the case. It was a short summer for the Bruins, but they weren't partying as the runner-up. Like the Blackhawks, the Bruins have hit a bit of a lull the last few weeks, but the Bruins are used to such ebbs and flows in their game during recent seasons. The top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla has cooled off a bit, but it won't be long before it gets going again.
SP: OK, I've got you down for the Patriots. The Blackhawks' top line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa seems to be the one constant with the team now. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has toyed with the other lines this past week. Their depth was so key to their success last season and even earlier this year, but they haven't been able to get those four lines rolling as of late. Bryan Bickell, who the Bruins will remember as one of the two 17-second goal scorers, hasn't been able to find that same groove he had in the playoffs last season. He and Michal Handzus, who also had a strong playoff run, are two players the Blackhawks are looking to get more from. For the most part, the Blackhawks do look a lot like they did last season. Their one major addition was Kris Versteeg in a trade earlier this year. How have the Bruins' offseason moves worked for them this season?
SP: Crawford has had a so-so season. He's been brilliant at times and ordinary in others. He hasn't possessed that same consistency that made him an elite goaltender last season and really a difference-maker in the playoffs. He may have been overworked early in the year, and that dreaded lower-body injury forced him to sit out a month recently. The Blackhawks likely will lean more on rookie goaltender Antti Raanta after the Olympic break and make sure Crawford is fresh for the playoffs. We obviously have a lot of hockey still to be played and two regular-season meetings between these teams, but do you think we could see a Blackhawks-Bruins Cup rematch? The Blues and Ducks seem to be the biggest obstacles in the Blackhawks' way in the Western Conference.
JM: We know how difficult it is to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, or even enjoy another deep run in the playoffs, but both teams have legit chances to return to the finals. In fact, I would love to see it happen, only because of the great hockey we witnessed between these two clubs last spring. What the Ducks have been able to accomplish this season, you'd have to think they would be the favorites out of the Western Conference, but as we all know, anything can happen in the playoffs. As far as the Eastern Conference, it's going to be a fun battle to watch down the stretch and into the playoffs. It wouldn't surprise me if the Penguins and Bruins also have a rematch this spring. Either way, both conferences are setting up nicely for exciting hockey for the fans. Personally, I can't wait for puck drop on Sunday between the Bruins and Blackhawks.
BOSTON -- The boos were louder than the cheers for former Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, who returned to Boston for the first time since he was traded to the Dallas Stars on July 4.
Even before the Stars' 3-2 shootout victory over the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden, Seguin was booed during pregame introductions. He was booed again when he first touched the puck during his first shift.
Seguin, along with forwards Rich Peverley and Ryan Button, were traded to Dallas in exchange for forwards Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow last summer.
During a TV timeout in the first period, the Bruins recognized Seguin and Peverley on the video board by showing each of them hoisting the 2011 Stanley Cup. But almost every time Seguin touched the puck, the majority of the 17,565 showed their displeasure for Boston's former No. 1 pick (second overall) in the 2010 draft.
Oh, and there was a game being played, too.
Seguin and Peverley scored in the shootout to lead Dallas to victory.
Milan Lucic and Torey Krug scored for the Bruins, while goalie Tuukka Rask made 34 saves.
The Stars gained the early lead when Jamie Benn ripped a snap shot from the right faceoff circle and beat Rask to the top left corner at 3:38 of the first period.
Boston responded when Krug received a nifty pass from Smith and beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen at 4:16 of the opening period. The tally was Krug's fifth of the season. The Bruins outshot the Stars 18-10 in the opening period as the game remained in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the Stars gained a 23-22 advantage in total shots.
Early in the third, the Stars were awarded a four-minute power play when Smith was given a double-minor for high-sticking. The Bruins were able to kill off the penalty. That stop proved crucial as Boston gained a 2-1 lead on Lucic's goal at 11:39 of the third period. It was his seventh of the season, as he redirected Dougie Hamilton's shot from the blue line.
With the Bruins holding the one-goal lead in the final five minutes, the fans once again began to chant "Seguin, Seguin, Seguin."
But the Stars were awarded a penalty shot with 2:34 remaining and Dallas' Vernon Fiddler beat Rask to tie the game at 2-2.
LOUI, LOUI: After missing five games due to a concussion, Eriksson returned to the lineup and was back playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. After the team's morning skate, Eriksson said he was pleased with how quickly his recovery went.
OH, BOY: After missing Saturday's game due to a back injury, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk returned to the lineup. He made his presence felt in the first period when he ran over Dallas forward Erik Cole with a clean hit while the Stars were attempting to break out of their zone at 7:13. Fiddler took exception to the hit and went at Boychuk, who was prepared and landed on top of his opponent. Both were handed roughing penalties.
ALL PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR: With everyone healthy, Julien needed to make a couple of lineup decisions, so forward Jordan Caron and defenseman Matt Bartkowski were healthy scratches.
IN THE HOUSE: During a TV timeout in the second period, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli was shown on the video board, and the fans went nuts when he tugged on his beard. It was fitting he attended the game since he spent the previous two seasons playing for the Texas Rangers. Also attending Tuesday's game was Jim Craig, the 1980 Olympic gold-medal winning goaltender for Team USA. The fans chanted "USA, USA, USA" when he was shown on the video board.
UP NEXT: Tuesday's game against the Stars began a five-game homestand for the Bruins. Boston will host the Florida Panthers on Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday before finishing up against the Columbus Blue Jackets next Thursday at TD Garden.
On the spectrum of his career, Seguin is somewhere between the trajectory of his linemates. Benn, at just 24, is the Stars’ captain. Nichushkin is an 18-year-old phenom and, like Seguin, a top-10 pick -- the 10th overall selection in the 2013 draft.
“When I saw him [Nichushkin] in the preseason, when I first got to Dallas, I was blown away with him,” Seguin said after Monday’s practice session. “I thought he was going be a next [Evgeni] Malkin. He’s got a good skill set.”
The billing still fits for Seguin, but he never became in Boston what Benn has developed into for the Stars. And so, for the first time since the Bruins and Stars pulled off their own Fourth of July fireworks display with a seven-player deal that sent Seguin to Dallas, he’s returning as an opposing player.
“It’s a little weird pulling into the city,” Seguin said, encircled by a deep pool of reporters. “It’s definitely a little awkward, I guess you could say.”
So, too, are breakups of any kind.
About midway through Seguin’s media engagement in the Garden’s bowels, Bruins coach Claude Julien strode through the concourse, accompanied by assistant Doug Houda while leaving ice level. Julien didn’t break stride and cast his eyesight at the floor tile, avoiding the mongering scrum to his left.
Once the relationship’s over, you never look back.
“Give me something else?” Julien responded -- only half-jokingly -- when asked if he was looking forward to coaching against Seguin to open his post-practice news conference Monday morning.
He added, “It’s not my job to keep in contact with a player that’s no longer with us.”
Julien’s follow-up elaboration on his view of Seguin’s three seasons in Boston was something short of glowing.
“He’s a good player,” Julien said. “I didn’t mind him here at all as a player.”
In the early going with Dallas, Seguin has shown the flashes of offensive prowess he did in his sophomore season with the Bruins, when he fell one goal shy of 30. He’s been a point-per-game player (6-9—15 totals through 14 games), leading the team in scoring.
“I’m trying to find an all-around, complete game,” Seguin said, “and I think with my type of game, it does come with points. I’m competing with my feet and creating offensive chances.”
The evolution has come with a move from the wing to center. It has come with growing pains, evidenced by Seguin’s putrid performance in the faceoff circle against Ottawa on Sunday. In the Stars’ 4-3 shootout win, Seguin won just one of 14 draws.
“He’s had good nights and he’s had some tough ones,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Seguin’s time at center. “There’s some nights, like last night, where I’d like to see him cheat more -- maybe get lower, maybe battling and get kicked out [of the circle]. He’s had some tough nights, but he’s had some good ones. It’s the tough ones he has to battle through.”
Ruff also indicated, in no uncertain terms, the plan is to keep Seguin at center.
“He’s been at center ice and he’s going to stay at center ice,” Ruff said. “It might be a little bit of a growing process, but that’s where we want to play him.”
Seguin also addressed the heart of the speculation about what truly led to his exit from Boston. From social media gaffes to other alleged off-ice predilections, Seguin danced around the issues he “faced up to” in his B’s career.
“I think I was just growing into a pro,” he said. “I was the youngest guy here for a while before Dougie [Hamilton] came in. But any decisions I made never really affected my job.”
To that point is what more likely influenced the Bruins’ decision to push the launch button. Now famously delivered during the first installment of the “Behind the B” series on NESN, Scott Bradley, Bruins director of player personnel, uttered the indictment:
“He's a star player -- there's no doubt. But does he fit with our culture?”
Though a small sample size, it appears as though Seguin has assimilated to Dallas’ culture in the room, a place where he might yet seize a leadership role, as his linemate, Benn, has early in his career.
It’s all there in Seguin’s game. Sometimes it just comes down to the details, just as Ruff commented on Seguin’s need to get down and dirty in the faceoff circle.
“Sometimes you’re going to have to get low, you’re going to have to get real hard.”
BOSTON -- Now that Tyler Seguin is no longer a member of the Boston Bruins, general manager Peter Chiarelli isn't about to call out the character of the 21-year-old forward just because he was traded to the Dallas Stars as the centerpiece of a seven-player deal on Independence Day.
Less than a week ago, Chiarelli told reporters after the NHL draft that Seguin needed to be a better pro. After the trade was complete, Chiarelli reiterated his comments but added nothing but praise for the former No. 2 overall pick in 2010.
"I think what's important to remember about Tyler is that he came here with much pomp and circumstance and he played very well for a young player," Chiarelli said. "This year wasn't his best year, but it was a trying year and a weird year to assess players. Tyler's a real good kid. I know I see the Twitter-verse, whatever it's called, and a lot of these reports about his extracurricular stuff, and I've made comments that due to his professionalism and acting more like a professional, but what has to be remembered in all this is that he's 21 years old. He's a good kid, and he's a terrific player. He's probably better suited for center. He was very good for us as a winger."
Chiarelli made it a point to say this trade had nothing to do with any off-ice issues the Bruins were concerned about, but he did seem to question Seguin's preparedness.
Chiarelli was asked whether this was strictly an on-ice decision.
"There are no strict on-ice decisions on any decision you make with a hockey player. So no, it's not a strict on-ice decision," he said.
Asked whether the Bruins were fed up with Seguin's so-called off-ice issues, Chiarelli again downplayed it.
"I don't think so. I mean, we're talking about a good player. Our job -- my job as a manager, our coach's job, we have to get the best out of our players. ... No player is perfect, either as a player or an individual. His -- all his stuff mushrooms into a proliferation of items on social media and I get overwhelmed by the number of stuff that comes out. Maybe some of it is true, but I know not all of it is true.
"And this kid -- Tyler is a 21-year-old, he is a good kid, he's got a good heart and he is going to continue to grow up."
The Bruins had been shopping Seguin before the draft, so when the trade was announced Thursday afternoon, it did not come as a shock.
"I definitely heard the rumors," Seguin said during a conference call. "When the trade was announced, I don't know if I was surprised. As far as the professional comments, I talked with Peter about it right after the trade happened. I come to the rink every day and act professional and work my hardest. My first three years so far have been a big learning curve, and I look forward to getting better every day, and I'm more motivated coming to a great city like Dallas.
Chiarelli was also asked whether the condition of Seguin's hip factored into why the Bruins wanted to trade him.
"No. That's really a condition that's troubling a lot of players. He's managed it, and the doctors talked. There's no issue," Chiarelli said.
After the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, Seguin acknowledged that a physical ailment was bothering him during the playoffs and said he would have it checked out by medical staff. That ailment was believed to be his hip.
As far as what the Bruins are getting in return for Seguin and Rich Peverley, Chiarelli believes this deal works well for both teams. Dallas GM Jim Nill sees Seguin as a pure center and will use him as such with the Stars. Chiarelli believes Seguin could thrive in that role with the Stars.
"Tyler was quiet for most of the playoffs. He's a tremendous package of skill and speed, so yes it will go north," Chiarelli said. "His game is more conducive to that. The ice on both sides of them, when he's in the middle, he will have to play defensively there as he did here. Lindy [Ruff] likes to take care of his own end, so that won't change, as far as that responsibility. In fact it'll be more, as a center man you have more defensive responsibility down low. Jimmy likes Tyler. Loves Tyler as a player. He's followed him a long time being in Detroit when Tyler was in Plymouth, so it was a good fit for them."
Seguin's offensive production drastically declined during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had only one goal in 22 games in the postseason. When asked how he felt about playing in Dallas and what he learned during his time in Boston, Seguin said: "It's a refreshing feeling I get to go and start from scratch with a new organization, a new home. Whether it's on or off the ice I definitely want to succeed in the expectations that are given towards me."
Joining Seguin in Dallas will be Peverley, who was also part of the deal.
"I think Tyler was under the microscope here in Boston and I've heard a lot of things in the past 24 hours about Tyler that I don't think is true and it's unfortunate that it's coming to people talking like that," Peverley said. "He works very hard. He's gotten a lot more mature in the years I've known him. He commits himself to the game and getting better. I don't see any reason why he can't continue to improve all the time. He works very hard and he's a committed individual and it's going to be no different going forward. For Boston to let him go at a young age, I'm sure he's going to be really motivated to do well. I'm excited for him because it's new start, a fresh start and I'm sure he's excited."
As far as what the Bruins received in return, Chiarelli likes the addition of winger Loui Eriksson and prospects Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
"Well, he's a good two-way player," Chiarelli said of Eriksson. "He knows where to find the spots to score. Has a good shot, good release from either side, can play on the PP. ... He can play the right side, and he has left-shot skill. He spreads out your power play. He's a fast and a good two-way player. There's a lot of his game that fits into how we play."
So, Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wasn't just sending a message to Tyler Seguin after all.
Instead, he sent the 21-year-old forward packing and shipped him to the Dallas Stars, along with forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Ryan Button, in exchange for forward Loui Eriksson and prospects Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
The blockbuster deal ends Seguin's subpar three-year career in Boston. He never really lived up to expectations while in a Bruins sweater, and now, his $5.75 million cap hit per season is off the books.
He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 with a big series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals. This spring, though, he struggled and had only one goal and seven assists in 22 games as the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the finals.
Seguin had a hard time using his speed to his advantage, and opponents controlled him by keeping him to the perimeter, which made his shot useless.
The Bruins are moving him while he's young and relatively healthy, and Chiarelli was able to get a good deal in return.
Chiarelli criticized Seguin last weekend at the NHL draft, saying the forward needed to become a better pro. Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron had his former linemate's back, but understood what the GM meant.
"I think Tyler's a young guy still and he's got a lot to learn," Bergeron said. "At the same time, he's improved a lot. At that stage, when you're learning like that, that's going to happen, you need to make sure you learn from it and find a way to get better. That's the main thing with him, it's about him finding ways to battle through it, find ways and build some character out of it. He's a terrific player, a terrific person, but sometimes you need to have some lows to get back up and feel better and play better.
"I thought he was really good the way he helped us. He found a way even though he wasn't scoring as much as he would like to. He was still battling hard and doing things, the little details that you don't always see on the score sheet, but it wasn't going unnoticed from us as players and teammates. He's a terrific young player, so he's going to learn."
As for the other players in the deal:
Eriksson, 27, is a solid left winger and posted 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points in 48 games for the Stars this season.
Smith, 22, can play either wing and posted three goals and six assists for nine points in 37 games.
Morrow, 20, is a solid, puck-moving defenseman and spent this past season at the AHL level.
Fraser, 20, is a left winger and spent the majority of the season in the AHL, but did play in 12 games for Dallas.
At the heart of Thursday’s blockbuster deal between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins is not just patience but the belief in the overarching power of time to transform potential into productivity.
At the end of the day, the Bruins did not believe enough that time was going to transform Tyler Seguin, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, into a core member of their team, so they sent the 21-year-old packing to Dallas along with Rich Peverley and prospect Ryan Button in exchange for the undervalued Loui Eriksson and prospects Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and defenseman Joe Morrow, whom the Stars acquired from Pittsburgh in the Brenden Morrow deal at the trade deadline.
Seguin has showed flashes of the promise that saw him in a neck-and-neck race with Taylor Hall for the first overall selection in 2010. He helped the Bruins win a Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2011 and scored 29 goals in 2011-12 but did not fully become part of the Bruins community. Still a boy, he acted like it at times.
There were questions about his focus and commitment. This spring, Seguin scored only once in 22 postseason games as the Bruins were defeated by Chicago in six games in the Stanley Cup finals.
After failing to trade him before the end of the draft, GM Peter Chiarelli was blunt in saying Seguin needed to focus on being a pro.
Now Seguin will get to focus on that task in Dallas, where he will carry a $5.75 million cap hit through 2018-19. Clearly, new GM Jim Nill believes such a transformation can be accomplished. For a team that has missed the playoffs five straight years, Seguin represents an important piece of the foundation with the expectation he will contribute both immediately and down the road.
While Seguin was part of a deep, veteran group in Boston, he will face significant expectations in Dallas. It's hard to believe that Mark Recchi, who is an adviser for the Stars and has a long relationship with owner Tom Gaglardi, did not vouch for Seguin, with whom he played in Boston when the Bruins were Cup-bound in 2011.
Coach Lindy Ruff will likely return Seguin to his natural position at center, a position at which the Stars have been woefully thin, although it will take a certain leap of faith for Ruff to make such a move and will take some restoration of Seguin’s confidence to make it work to the Stars’ benefit.
Boston coach Claude Julien declined to make such a move during the playoffs when injuries necessitated a shuffling of the Bruins’ forward lines. Julien chose for the most part to leave Seguin as a third-line winger as opposed to giving him a shot as a second-line center.
The Stars also will get a useful, versatile player in Peverley, who saw his role change from the Bruins’ Cup-winning team in 2011 to this season, when he played mostly fourth-line minutes, although he did chip in on the Bruins’ second power-play unit.
If there is more risk financially and in terms of fit for the Stars, there is certainly more long-term upside with Seguin given his significant offensive skill set.
The Bruins were clearly OK with that kind of trade-off, and there could hardly be a more Bruins-friendly acquisition than Eriksson. The native of Goteborg, Sweden, and former Olympian doesn’t address the team’s gaping hole on the right side created by the departures of Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr to free agency, but Eriksson is all business and should be an instant favorite of Julien.
At 27, Eriksson is a solid two-way player who has a $4.25 million cap hit through 2015-16. He is a four-time 20-goal scorer who had 36 goals in 2008-09, and one wonders if he will make Bruins fans quickly forget Seguin. The question will be whether Stars fans will embrace the young center in a like fashion or end up lamenting Eriksson’s loss.
Chiarelli made it crystal clear he was not satisfied with 21-year-old Tyler Seguin’s subpar season. Boston’s GM even considered trading Seguin, entertaining offers prior to the draft. No matter whether that was just a message to Seguin or if he was actually considering dealing him, Chiarelli made his point loud and clear.
"He needs to focus all his mind and energy on hockey. He needs to be a better pro," Chiarelli told reporters at the Prudential Center. "He's 21 and I expect big things from him. I wasn't satisfied with his year and he wasn't either. He's a helluva player and he'll be a helluva player. ... He's got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game."
The second overall pick in the 2010 draft, Seguin has yet to realize his potential three years into his career. . He produced only 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points during the regular season, and had just one goal and seven assists for eight points during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
When he was playing on the second line with center Patrice Bergeron and winger Brad Marchand, the trio was the most consistent line for the Bruins during the regular season. His speed should be a difference-maker when he’s on the ice but he hasn’t demonstrated that. More often than not, he loses the foot race while trying to avoid his opponent instead of taking a straight line to the puck.
Depending how Chiarelli fills the void left by top-line forward Nathan Horton’s decision to test the free-agent market, Seguin could get an opportunity to replace Horton on the first line. Though he would first need to prove he can play with a lot more grit than he showed this past season. Otherwise, he’ll likely return to playing with Bergeron and Marchand.
Either way, the Bruins expect a lot more from the guy to whom they gave a six-year, $34.5 million extension last September.
On Saturday night, Chiarelli sounded like he's leaning toward keeping Seguin, who was the second overall pick of the 2010 draft. However, Chiarelli did make it clear that Seguin needs to pick up his game after a disappointing postseason in which he had only one goal and seven assists.
"He needs to focus all his mind and energy on hockey. He needs to be a better pro," Chiarelli said to the media at the Prudential Center. "He's 21 and I expect big things from him. I wasn't satisfied with his year and he wasn't either. He's a helluva player and he'll be a helluva player. ... He's got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game."
Chiarelli also said he will wait on any transactions until later this week or perhaps free agency, which begins on July 5.
BOSTON -- The sting of surrendering two goals in the final 1:16 of regulation, losing 3-2 and then having to watch the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup on their home ice forever will gnaw at the members of the 2013 Boston Bruins. Even if some of these players go on to win another Stanley Cup, they always will remember the pit in their stomachs as they watched the promise of a Game 7 slip away.
But they also will never forget what their alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron, did to give them a chance at their second Stanley Cup in three seasons. Tyler Seguin, Bergeron's linemate of the last two seasons who is still trying to reach his full potential, can take an invaluable lesson from seeing Bergeron hit the ice after ending up in a Chicago hospital after Game 5.
"I think even when he was getting dressed in the locker room before the game, you could feel the boys' spirits lifted," a teary-eyed Seguin said after Game 6. "The year we won he was doing the same thing; fighting through everything. Obviously guys have bumps and bruises, but he’s a guy that you obviously say is the heart and soul of our team. He wears that ‘B’ with a lot of pride."
If someone hadn't asked him, Bergeron wouldn't have mentioned what he had been going through over the past few days. But Bergeron's medical report showed how true Seguin's words are.
Yes, you read that correctly. Bergeron not only entered the do-or-die Game 6 with a broken rib, torn cartilage and muscles, he then separated his shoulder during the game and played on, finishing the game with 17:45 of ice time and doing everything he could to will his team to Game 7. But the humble Bergeron wasn't worried about the pain he was in.
"It’s the Stanley Cup final, everyone’s banged up, everyone wants to help the team and obviously I couldn't do that in Game 5," Bergeron said. "It was mostly because they were worried about my spleen being hurt, so that's why we had to go to the hospital. But everything was fine so it was just the ribs and the muscles and the soft tissue. So obviously I would have liked to stay in it, but I was going through a lot of pain."
But even though he was in more physical agony following Game 6, the emotional pain seemed to be hurting the 27-year-old leader the most.
"There’s not many words that can be said right now," Bergeron said. "It’s definitely tough to lose, especially at this time, after everything we’ve been through. You work so hard just to get to this point and give yourself a chance to get the Cup. And you feel like you’re right there, and you have a chance to force Game 7. Definitely it hurts."
Seguin by no means was playing at the level of Bergeron in this playoff run. Bergeron scored the game winner that helped the Bruins escape the first-round battle with the Maple Leafs and went on to have a Conn Smythe-worthy postseason with nine goals and 15 points in 22 games.
But while Seguin struggled to find the back of the net, scoring just one postseason goal, he was doing things he often has been criticized for not doing: hitting, driving into the dirty areas and digging the puck out of the corners.
Sound familiar? Those are elements of Bergeron's game every night. While Seguin can't say he brings that night in and night out, seeing Bergeron's effort, will and determination can only help him get closer to that point and inspire him to come back next season as a more complete player.
Seguin acknowledged that a chronic condition -- likely the hip issue Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com reported on last season -- had been acting up recently and that he would be seeing doctors Tuesday. So already, he is following in Bergeron's footsteps and playing through pain for his teammates.
But Seguin's emotions after Game 6 showed in spite of his lack of points, he seems to have learned what it takes to be a star in the NHL, with Bergeron providing the shining example.
"You learn from it, and you use it for motivation. I’ve never felt so motivated in my life," Seguin said. "When you look around the room, whether it’s a guy like Bergeron fighting through everything, or just guys stepping up, [David] Krejci, the way he played in these playoffs, and how big of a performer he was, and that whole line, and [Tuukka] Rask.
"I’ve never felt anything like this," Seguin said as he teared up again. "I’ve never cried for as long as I’ve known until tonight. It sucks, but I love the guys in this locker room, and I’m going to miss them this offseason. But I’m going to make sure I’m working even harder for next year."
ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and ESPNChicago's Jesse Rogers break down the Bruins' 2-1 overtime win in Game 2.
CLICK HERE to read Mac's column on how Claude Julien's move to put Tyler Seguin on the third line with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille worked wonders for Boston.
Here's an excerpt:
Paille scored the winner at 13:48 of the extra period, with Seguin earning an assist. Earlier, Paille set up Kelly's goal at 14:58 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
They collectively gave the Bruins a much-needed spark to get back into this series. Seguin, who has struggled in the playoffs with just one goal, played his best game of the postseason. He was strong on the forecheck. He was backchecking and was creating chances.
"He was huge for us," Paille said. "He's definitely taken some heat but he is a special player and he can step up for all of us, and hopefully this is a step forward for him.
"You've seen him grow huge as a player, and it's a bit frustrating for him right now that he hasn't scored like he has, but we're not too worried about him. We know that he's a special player and he can, and it's just a matter of time for him."
Paille's relentless style of play and speed created both goals, while Kelly was finally rewarded with his first goal of the playoffs and his first point since April 17.
Depth scoring arrives at right time: As pointed out after Game 1 by colleague Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, the Blackhawks were able to pull out that triple OT win in part because their depth players outshined the Bruins' depth players. The Hawks got two of their four goals from their third line, with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw lighting the lamp. Until Game 2, the Bruins had been depending heavily on their top six forwards for the past few games, and while the third and fourth lines weren't playing poorly, the production was lacking. But in Game 2, that depth scoring finally arrived as Chris Kelly scored the game-tying goal in the second period, and Paille scored the overtime winner after getting an assist on Kelly's goal. There was much more offensive pressure coming from the bottom six forward group, and they accounted for four points and eight shots. It couldn't have come at a better time; the Bruins' most dangerous line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton didn't put a shot on net until five minutes into the third period.
Rask and Crawford solid again: If not for Tuukka Rask, this game may have been over after the first period. The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the opening frame, but Rask held the fort strong once again, allowing only Patrick Sharp's goal. Chicago had plenty of solid scoring chances with those 19 shots, but Rask was ready. As he has done all season and in the playoffs, he gave his team a chance to win. The Conn Smythe candidate finished with 33 saves, including six in overtime. On the other end, Corey Crawford was also solid. He finished with 26 saves and had some huge ones late in the second period and early in the third after the Bruins tied the game at 1 and found their legs. He had seven in overtime.
Time to reunite Seguin with Bergeron and Marchand: While head coach Claude Julien may not want to break up the sudden chemistry between Tyler Seguin and Paille, this scribe thinks Seguin has earned his way back into a top six spot. He assisted on the overtime winner by Paille and helped create the game-tying goal by Kelly. Seguin is playing much better and appears to be on the verge of breaking out and scoring some goals. Putting him back with his normal linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand may help get those goals. That line has had plenty of success together over the past two seasons, and it's time to reunite them.
Bruins looked tired and disorganized early on: It was a complete surprise that only one team was going to have a slow start and show signs of fatigue after the triple-overtime marathon in Game 1. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they were the team that looked like they were skating in quicksand. Not only were they outshot by a wide margin in the first period, they were clearly a stride or two behind the Blackhawks, who were able to really utilize their speed against the tired Bruins. In addition to the fatigue, the Bruins also seemed to be a bit disorganized. Many times they were scrambling in front of Rask to cover their man or find the puck.
Bruins hitting anything in sight: Once the Bruins found their energy, they were able to play their physical style and seemingly hit anything that moved. Boston outhit Chicago, 50-34. Lucic led the way with 10 hits and continues to be an intimidating force on the ice. The Bruins were able to slow down and wear out the speedy Hawks with Boston's physical prowess. The Bruins also used their power to get to the net on Kelly's game-tying goal in the second period as all forwards were driving to the net and creating havoc.
is healthy enough to play in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
But if Horton does not play, it appears Bruins coach Claude Julien will insert Seguin onto the team's top line along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
Seguin needs to start producing offensively no matter which line he's one.
"He's been skating well. To me right now, the only thing he needs to do is to be able to finish," Julien said. "If he can finish, it will certainly help his confidence, help our hockey club. But I'm not criticizing his work ethic, because he's competing hard and he's got some chances. Those things are certainly a positive thing. So there's only one thing left to do, and you hope for his sake and our sake that it comes along."
During the regular season, the trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Seguin was the Bruins' most consistent line. Once the puck dropped on the Stanley Cup playoffs, there were too many inconsistencies throughout the lineup for Boston during its first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Julien was not pleased with the lack of production from the team's second and third lines, so he flip-flopped Seguin and veteran forward Jaromir Jagr. The tweak helped Bergeron's line, but Seguin, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley continued to struggle.
With Gregory Campbell out with a broken leg, Julien continues to tweak the line combinations.
No matter whom Seguin plays with, he needs to start scoring some goals to help the Bruins beat the Blackhawks for the Cup.
"I want to be ready with whomever I'm playing with," Seguin said Friday. "I'm not sure what it's going to be. You all saw Nate out there, so I just want to step in and contribute to the best of my capability."
During Friday's practice at United Center, Seguin and Horton both took turns during drills on the top line. Best-case scenario for the Bruins would be to have Horton, who has seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points, including a plus-22 rating in 17 playoff games, back in the lineup.
"Definitely better than not, that's for sure," said Bruins veteran Shawn Thornton. "We all hope he's available. He's obviously one of our better hockey players and he's been amazing these playoffs. If he can go, we'll be happy to have him."
If not, Seguin does have experience playing with Krejci and Lucic. After Horton suffered a season-ending concussion in January 2012, Seguin was on that top line.
"I think I have the speed and skill to keep up with those guys," Seguin said. "They've been incredible at bearing down and putting the goals in, and that's been my struggle throughout the playoffs. Again, if I get the call to play with them, I'm going to be ready."
In fact, that threesome provided an overtime goal in Game 6 against the Washington Capitals during the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
"They're both great players, they're both great in their own way," Lucic said of Seguin and Horton. "Tyler's proven he can score goals and put up points in this league. When Nathan got hurt last year in January, me, Krejci and Seguin played a lot of games together and we were successful together. Whatever happens, happens. We're just focused on going out there and playing our game no matter who we play with."
Lucic, Krejci and Horton have combined for 57 points this spring, and Boston's top line needs to continue that production with or without Horton.
"Obviously, Krejci's line is pretty hot right now. They've been hot all playoffs, and they definitely have great chemistry and can find each other out there and make smart plays," Seguin said. "If I step in, I want to try to help contribute as much as I can and try to gain chemistry right away. I've had my fair share of playing with Krejci and Lucic as well."
After Horton suffered the injury early in the first overtime of Game 1, Seguin replaced him, and his game was noticeably different. He was getting quality scoring opportunities and was playing a better all-around game.
"I felt like I had a ton of chances last game again. I want to finish, and my team needs me to finish," Seguin said. "Again, I'm going to keep focusing on that for Game 2."
Seguin finished the lockout-shortened, 48-game season with 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points. That production hasn't translated into the playoffs, and it has Seguin in disbelief at times.
"It can be frustrating," he said. "When I look back at tapes of last game, I had a few chances, a lot of chances. You've got to find a way to score those. There are no excuses left anymore because it's the Stanley Cup finals, so you've just got to find a way."
His teammates hope so, too.
"Especially with some of the chances he had last game, and hopefully he can build off that and break through in Game 2," Lucic said.
Seguin’s last point came more than four games ago with an assist in the Bruins’ Game 5 overtime win over the Rangers.
The 21-year-old who was picked second overall in the 2010 NHL draft has done his best to stay positive and while he is definitely frustrated, he has seen some good things come out of his scoring drought. As he pointed out, he’s developed parts of his game that weren’t there before.
“I’ve had different attitudes and mentalities through the playoffs,” Seguin said. “I haven’t had the type of personal run that I’d like to have in the playoffs when I’m playing my game and contributing by getting points and goals. For the first time in my career, I find myself contributing in ways I haven’t before, whether it’s finishing checks or just getting in on the forecheck more and competing and battling. I do believe the hockey gods will bless me with some goals soon for my hard work in those areas, but I know in the end I've got to find a way.”
Seguin admitted that after being a fixture on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for the last two seasons, moving to a different line has affected his game. But he isn’t blaming that for his struggles and realizes he must adapt.
“It’s been hard playing with different linemates, obviously playing with ‘Bergy’ and ‘March’ the last couple of years,” Seguin acknowledged. “But it’s my job to find a way to build chemistry with new linemates. I feel we’ve been improving and the last game was great with ‘Daugs’ stepping in and hitting a post and me having some opportunities too, we had a heck of a game. Eventually there’s no chance those won’t go in.”
For now, he’s going to remain upbeat that his game is becoming more complete. The Bruins are in the finals because they are a team and not a group of individuals worried about stats and Seguin realizes that and is happy to be part of such a team.
“I am happy that I’m improving my all-around game,” Seguin said. “You look at a guy like ‘Bergy’ he scores but he doesn’t score a million goals and he’s one of our best players. So I think in the end when it comes to winning championships it’s not always about statistics but rather the little things. If you look at any series it’s the best ‘team’ that’s coming out of it and the team that’s buying into it the most and not the team that’s worried about who’s scoring the most goals.”
The Bruins hold an early series lead after a 3-0 victory in Game 1 on Saturday at Consol Energy Center. Boston’s top line provided all three goals, two by David Krejci and the other by Nathan Horton, but the rest of the lineup will need to chip in offensively, too.
“Game 2 is always a tougher game than Game 1,” Seguin said. “Sometimes you find yourself, the two teams, checking each other out in the first game. It was a good first game, but we’re expecting a lot harder, better game from both sides tonight.”
Seguin’s offensive production from the regular season hasn't translated to the playoffs. He has only one goal and three assists, while posting a minus-2 rating, in 13 games. Bruins coach Claude Julien has praised Seguin’s defensive work but would like to see more offense.
“I thought our third line played by far their best game of the [playoffs],” Julien said of Game 1. “So hopefully they can muster some goals here because that would certainly help.”
“I’m competing well and working hard out there,” Seguin said. “I’m playing my role on the team. I’m here to win games, not to want to score every single shift. It’s frustrating at times, but we’re winning games and that definitely makes you happy and it’s fun right now.”
Since he’s been lacking the offensive surge, Seguin says he’s making sure he's contributing and improving in other areas.
“That’s what I’m focusing on right now since the goals aren’t coming,” Seguin said. “As a line, we’re gaining better chemistry out there and we’re working hard to help us win games.”
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