SUN Hockey Pool

NHL rookies play their cards right

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

A rookie wants to look a little battle hardened for his first NHL hockey card photo, but Tyler Seguin showed up with a little bonus bruise on Wednesday .

The second overall pick this year, the Boston Bruin hopeful was sporting a small facial scar Wednesday morning (he thinks came from the stick of summer training buddy Mike Cammalleri) when he arrived at the MasterCard Centre with 22 other top draft picks for the shoot with Upper Deck and Panini America.

“All accidental,” Seguin assured, lest people think he’s already jumped into the Montreal - Boston rivalry with zest. “(The stick) just got under my visor.”

Seguin, No. 1 pick Taylor Hall and Toronto’s 2009 first rounder Nazem Kadri are among those hoping to break in with their respective teams next month, so their first cards would be all the more meaningful to themselves and collectors.

“A lot of people are certainly expecting me to make the team and so am I,” said Hall. “But until I play that 10th game (meaning the Oilers commit to using up a year of his contract), nothing’s for sure.

“I don’t want to just make the team, I want to be a big contributor. I’ve had a good summer of training, I’ve prepared myself well. I’ll deal with the pressure the same way I deal with hockey all through my life. I put a certain amount on myself. As long as i have the love of the game, I rely on good teammates and I rely on a lot of friends.”

Neck-and-neck with Hall in the scouting rankings throughout their final year of junior in the OHL, Seguin will face significantly less attention on a deep Boston team, whereas Hall is seen as the last-place Oilers’ saviour.

“I really want to earn my spot,” Seguin said. “But I’m looking at it more as fun and opportunity than pressure. The only expectation I have is that everyone will be treated equally in camp.”

Seguin had better get used to lots of media interest when visisting Toronto. Every trip the Bs make north will be a reminder to Leaf fans that he was taken with one of the Phil Kessel picks and that further success by his team against the Leafs this season could conceivably give Boston another high choice in 2011.

“That (attention) would be great, because all my friends and family live in Toronto,” Seguin agreed. “But I can’t really think of that (draft pick) stuff right now. I have too many steps ahead of me before I can think of that.”

While Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Brayden Schenn was posing on one rink, brother Luke was on an adjoining pad working out with the Leafs. Brayden is staying at Luke’s house this week, though talk of the Leafs trading for Brayden has tailed off this summer.

“That’s not our job to worry about things like that,” Brayden said. “Right now, he’s a Leaf and I’m a King.

“I have some work ahead of me first to try and make this team. but there’s a (Leafs-Kings) game in L.A on Jan. 10 and hopefully a meeting happens.”


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