October 27, 2010
Seguin 'the enemy' this week
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
BOSTON — This is what you get when you grow up surrounded by Maple Leafs fans then get drafted by one of the team’s Original Six rivals.
When Tyler Seguin, the highly touted rookie centre for the Boston Bruins looked at his Facebook page this week, this zinger was staring at him.
“A couple of them were writing: ‘I love Phil Kessel,’” Seguin said following the team’s practice Wednesday in the Boston suburb of Wilmington.
“I’m the enemy this week.”
Give Seguin credit though. As he works to establish his presence both in the NHL and in the Bruins dressing room, the 18-year-old Brampton native isn’t running from Kessel references. He knows that name will be attached to him for at least as long as that of Taylor Hall, the Edmonton Oilers rook who edged him out for No. 1 overall last spring.
As the Leafs slipped lower in the standings, the first of three draft picks the Leafs sent Boston’s way for Kessel looked more and more valuable. When they hit next to last, Seguin was suddenly in play.
“I definitely watched (the standings),” Seguin said the night before his first meeting with the Leafs in what will be just his seventh NHL game. “All year I kind of thought how I was going to maybe Carolina or something. The way it worked out, I was very happy.
“It’s a pretty good thing when you can go to a team that’s already a Cup-contending team.”
Seguin is essentially on a nine-game tryout with the Bruins, after which the club can send him back to the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers should they feel he’s not progressing. Until then, he’s living in a hotel across the Charles River from the Garden and learning what it takes to become a pro.
“I don’t think it’s an easy transition,” Bruins first-line forward Milan Lucic said. “There’s only a couple of guys that do it. A guy like (Tampa’s Stephen Stamkos), who is one of the best players in the league right now, he had to get used to it. This is not an easy league to just jump in and produce.”
As Leafs rookie Nazem Kadri has learned, dominating in junior means nothing when it comes to the NHL, especially when it comes to defensive responsibility.
That means there is plenty of time after practice to get schooled by Doug Jarvis, the Bruins assistant coach who was known as one of the best defensive centres in the game during his lengthy NHL career.
“It’s taken some adjusting, I think I could be better in my D zone,” Seguin said. “(Jarvis) looks at video with me almost every day with things I can work on.
“It’s almost like night and day (in the NHL.) Nothing against junior, obviously, but I felt I could get away with a lot more back then. Here it’s going to end up in the back of your net if you make those errors.”
For the most part, Seguin is getting fourth-line minutes, averaging in the 13-minute range each night. He has a goal and two assist in six games as he makes his case to stay.
“It’s not my decision to make, not my question to answer,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He hasn’t shown me any reason right now why (he should be sent back). But we’ve still got some games left and some issues to look at. That’s where upper management comes in.”
Since his pals and the media will constantly be dropping reminders, there’s no chance of Seguin forgetting about the Kessel connection. So imagine being a fly on the wall when the two met in Atlantic City last summer at a promotional event for a skate company.
“It wasn’t anything crazy,” Seguin said when asked about the topic of discussion. “We don’t get into too much stats or anything. I’d say the media does that. We’re just two hockey guys. I know he loves Toronto so that’s good for him.”