Seguin thriving, leading Swiss league in goals scored

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Seguin thriving, leading Swiss league in goals scored

Its only natural for Bruins fans to look at Tyler Seguin absolutely lighting it up in Switzerland, and wonder if theyd be watching him blossom into an NHL superstar this year if there hadnt been a lockout.

The 20-year-old Seguin potted a jaw-dropping 20 goals in his first 20 games skating for EHC Biel in the Swiss-A League, and overall has 32 points and 20 penalty minutes in 21 games for Biel. Hes adapted nicely to the speedy European League, and leads all NHL players in the Swiss League with his 20 goals. Thats more goals than an impressive list of Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, John Tavares, Logan Couture, Jason Spezza or Patrice Bergeron, who are all skating in the top Swiss League right along with Seguin.

In fact one could make the argument that Seguin has been the best, most valuable NHL player while in Europe over the last few months during the lockout. Seguin struggled slightly coming out of the gate when he first arrived in October, but he steadily improved before Blackhawks refugee Patrick Kane arrived to form a dynamic scoring duo with the Bruins prodigy. With nothing but European food that's a little different and bad "Dear John" episodes playing on the only English channel on his television, it appears Seguin is fully focused on hockey.

"I had no idea what to expect when I came to Switzerland," he told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper recently. "The league is very competitive -- the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me. It took me some time and effort to get used to it.

"Scoring goals is never easy; I didn't do very well at the beginning. Now I just hope to continue playing well like I have been lately.

Amazingly Seguin has also been a part of Biels penalty kill special teams unit something that never happened in his first two years skating under head coach Claude Julien and is killing penalties for the first time in his pro career. Seguin even tweeted about it after scoring on a short-handed goal following a shot that he blocked to start the scoring opportunity: something that never happened in Boston.

"Got a shorthanded goal the other night. Wonder if @NHLBruins will see it. blockshots" tweeted Seguin.

Clearly Seguin wouldnt be a goal-per-game player in the NHL this season, but many talented youngsters really make that ascension to something special during their third year in the league. In terms of recent Bruins players Phil Kessel exploded for 36 goals and 60 points in his third and final season in Boston before forcing his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and seemed to finally come into his full scoring powers as he turned 21 years old.

So its natural to wonder how much better Seguin would be than the All-Star forward that finished with 29 goals and 67 points last season, and project how good hell be if the NHL lockout lifts in December or January. Dont be surprised to see Seguin around Boston in the next few weeks as Biel goes on another lengthy break from games between Dec. 9-17.

But hell go back to piling up hat tricks in Switzerland if nothing is accomplished with the CBA by then, and Seguin simply just wanting to play hockey.

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.