Haggerty: Seguin breaks through at just the right time


Haggerty: Seguin breaks through at just the right time

WASHINGTON Tyler Seguin normally has the smirking confidence of a youngster who's used to achieving whatever he sets his mind to.

He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, he won the Stanley Cup as a rookie, he developed into an All-Star forward in his second year, and he finished his sophomore season leading the Bruins in goals scored and points.

But even the gifted 20-year-old struggles at times, and that was never more true than during the Bruins' first-round series against the Washington Capitals.

Heading into Sunday's Game 6, Seguin was riding a 16-game playoff goal-scoring drought. He was shying away from the battle areas on the ice, and hadnt registered a single point in the first five games of the series against Washington.

But that all ended Sunday.
In the third period, he stripped a Capitals player of the puck near the blue line and zinged a shot off Braden Holtby.The play created a rebound that bounced to Andrew Ference, and -- after Ference fired the puck into the open side of the net -- Seguin had his first playoff point of the year.
And then he scored his first playoff goal of the year -- and sent the teams back to Boston for Game 7 -- when, afterDavid Krejci stole the puck from Nicklas Backstrom three minutes into the OT session and got it over to Milan Lucic, Seguin took a pass from Lucic and streaked all alone toward the net.He waited until Holtby committed himself and left his skates, then swept the puck around him and deposited it into the net for the game-winner.

It was a moment of sweetness that made up for two weeks of offensive struggle while his team couldnt rub two goals together in the tightest of first-round playoff series games.

I think in this series weve had a lot of chances and opportunities and I havent been bearing down and finishing them off, said Seguin. Its just really nice to get that feeling of finally getting one.
Seguin admits he sometimes gets a little frustrated when shots arent falling for him, but thats when he'll have a heart-to-heart talk with his road roommate for the last two years, GregoryCampbell.
Well, Im not a motivational speaker, said Campbell. Ive been roommates with him two years now and Ive developed a relationship where I could tell that he was extremely disappointed during the week. Hes a star player. Hes going to be the face of the franchise sooner rather than later. He cares a lot and the growing pains have been there for the last two seasons.

He put together a lot of points for us, but everybody expects so much out of him. Hes had a giant bear on his shoulders out there in the playoffs.

Seguin didnt enjoy a game for the ages from beginning to end, but he started heating things up in the third period. The defensive play that set up Ference's goal was especially pleasing to coach Claude Julien.

Its a good point and we talked about that in the dressing room after the game. He made a great defensive play before we scored that go-ahead goal in the third, said Julien. Hes been a player thats grown, matured, and is understanding more and more of how important it is to play a good two-way game in the playoffs.

It was a moment of sweetness that made up for two weeks of offensive struggle while his team couldnt rub two goals together in the tightest of first-round playoff series games.

The Bs wunderkind wont always be the youngest guy out on the ice at all times, but is slowly earning the respect of even the crustiest hockey players with his determination to learn the game the right way and his ability to excel under pressure.

Tim Thomas called it Seguins coming out party as an NHL superstar after his Game 6 performance, and it is clearly another one of the great early chapters of a book thats going to be written with the Bruins for a very long time.

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

BOSTON – The all-important results continue to elude the Bruins at the time when they need them most.

The Black and Gold lost their third game in a row, 1-0, to the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden Friday night when they allowed the game-winning goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation. It was a simple defensive breakdown and some great tic-tac-toe passing with Marian Hossa finishing things off, but it also felt like a game where the Blackhawks coasted against a wounded Bruins team for 58 minutes before turning it on when it was winning time.

The winning goal was a cross-ice pass from Tanner Kero to Hossa, with the puck sliding right between the legs of Adam McQuaid in the slot, and Hossa picking a corner while giving Tuukka Rask zero time to react side to side.

“We had a game plan in place and our guys executed well, they were ready to play,” said Claude Julien. “One little mistake and it’s in our net, and you lose yourself a pretty important hockey game.”

So, now the Bruins have taken only one point in their past three games, have dropped behind the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division standings and continue to skate around like they’re wearing the weight of the entire organization on their shoulders.

“At the end of the night it is another loss and that’s the biggest thing. Did your team play fairly well? I think so. I think we competed hard, but then again you’re dealing with some growing pains. We had an icing late in the game so that’s not necessary, but the winning goal that goes through three of our guys and in our net with a minute-and- a-half left,” said Julien. “We have to stand there again, and take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes.

“I thought we played pretty well against a good team. We had contained the guys that we needed to contain. We didn’t score any goals – I don’t think we did a good enough job there - we had some chances but again you got to find ways to score goals. That’s where we are at.”

Clearly, the Bruins didn’t give up a ton defensively and Rask had been solid for the first two-plus periods, but there was also a sense Chicago didn’t bring its best game either when Boston outshot the Blackhawks 17-6 in the opening period. It was also clear that, aside from a couple of good, early chances from Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand, along with a Joe Morrow breakaway chance, the Bruins offense wasn’t doing enough work to get closer to the Chicago net for any sustained pressure.

So, instead of a solid result with dark clouds swirling over Causeway Street that a big change is needed to jolt a stagnant team, the Bruins hang up another loss where they outshot their opponent and end up with nothing to show for it.

These are the kinds of losses that test morale and togetherness and could either be taken as a sign of things tightening up for the Bruins or of things continuing to spiral away from a team that just needs wins at this point.

“I’m sure everybody’s feeling down right now because we lost, but you can’t start pouting too much. You’ve got to move on,” said Rask, who allowed one goal on 22 shots in the loss. “[There’s a] big game coming up Sunday, and next week, so it’s a loss and we have to move on. [We have to] get ready for the next one. I’m sure guys are pissed today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Tomorrow is a new day for everybody on the Black and Gold including Julien, who is scheduled to still run practice on Saturday as the B’s bench boss before speaking to the media prior to the team leaving for Pittsburgh. So, it’s business as usual after another loss on Friday night in a classic Original Six matchup that’s clearly most of the luster from where it was at four years ago, but one can only sit and wonder how much longer business as usual cuts it for a hockey club that continues to flounder. 

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.