BOSTON – Claude Julien spoke for the first time since after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Bruins head coach was asked plenty of questions involving departed 21-year-old forward Tyler Seguin.
The former Bruins forward was shipped to Dallas along with Rich Peverley in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser, and Julien said he never really had many dealings with any of Seguin’s immaturity issues off the ice.
Instead Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was the front office member that dealt with the disciplinary side of “sitting down” with Seguin whenever issues cropped up, and there were indications that happened multiple times over the last three years. Certainly the one-game suspension two seasons ago in Winnipeg counts as one of those major moments.
Another cropped up during the first round of this year’s playoffs when Seguin was going out in his home city of Toronto during the first two road playoff games against the Maple Leafs, and then played two miserable hockey games while showing up at the Air Canada Centre wearing the same clothes three days in a row.
Julien might have witnessed some of the off-ice issues as Seguin went through the bumpy process of 18-year-old prodigy to twenty-something finished NHL product, but the coach was focused on the on-ice work with the promising young forward.
“My main job with [Seguin] was to deal with it as far as the hockey part is concerned. He’d come into my office and we’d watch video, and do this or that. I honestly didn’t deal a ton with [the off the ice] stuff. That would be the GM,” said Julien. “[Chiarelli] deals with those kinds of situations whenever it’s needed, but there are all kinds of other players that go through those kinds of things. My main preoccupation with him was his game because that was the most important part. My job is to get the most out of the player on the ice, and that’s what I tried to do."
The relationship between Seguin and Julien was good enough that the struggling player went to the B’s head coach to ask advice during the latter rounds of this spring’s playoff run. That meeting helped Seguin enjoy his best round of the playoffs in the final against the Blackhawks, but by then the Bruins were already inching toward trading the valued 21-year-old asset.
There were clearly issues between player and coach when Phil Kessel was dealt away from the Bruins four years ago, but that wasn’t the case this time around with another talented puck wunderkind.
“There were no issues between Tyler and I, and I’m not afraid to say it. I worked with him as a hockey player, and I dealt with him as a person,” said Julien. “There were no issues that I know about. I thought we had a good relationship. I told him that I thought he really worked hard during the Finals.
“He took it as serious as any 21-year-old would. We talked about Marchand before, and we talked about other guys like Hamilton. Right now his job is about working harder and getting stronger in the gym, but everybody as a 21-year-old doesn’t have the maturity to be a professional whether it’s in the gym, or here or there. So you work with all of those young guys in different ways. Do different players have difference challenges? Absolutely.”
It sounds like there is a lesson to be learned by other young players like Hamilton that the Bruins take a young player's dedication to his profession very seriously. Julien’s words certainly back that stance up.