WINNIPEG So Tyler Seguin didnt set his alarm clock for the proper time on Tuesday morning. Or so he says.
But if you have a shred of common sense, you realize that if his alarm clock was set to Eastern Standard Time, it would have made him an hour early rather than an hour late. Did the 19-year-old simply blow off a team function yesterday morning? Where was Seguin's road roommate to wake him up? (Probably Jordan Caron, his roommate at home in their Charlestown digs, and oh by the way, the guy that cracked the Bs lineup once Seguin was scratched.)
But none of that is really important at the end of the day.
The Bruins arrived in Winnipeg in the early morning hours Tuesday after a statement dub over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they had every right to feel good about themselves after their 14th win in 15 games. Seguin had potted a power play goal and spoke after the contest after battling to keep his confidence up with two goals in his last 10 games after a torrid start to the season.
Maybe Seguin simply overslept as he and team officials contend, or maybe he did what most 19-year-olds would do in a Canadian city where the world can seem like a playground to a young hockey star.
The details dont really matter to manyaside from people with way too much time on their hands. What matters most is that the Bruins reacted with a harsh punishment fitting the crime, anddelivered a strong message that no individual player is bigger than the team.
"It's a mistake. Something you can only learn from and move on, Seguin admitted after watching his team go 0-for-3 on the power play and struggle to finish off offensive chances in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. I know it wasn't professional and that it has consequences.
Anytime you go up in the stands it's not something I'm happy with. I told myself after last year that I never wanted to be back up there and I was again tonight.
The punitive nature of the B'sactions was even more enlightening when all parties involved admitted afterward this wasnt the first Seguin had slept through a team meeting. Seguin admittedhe was also scratched last season for a similar infraction. The team covered upSeguin's absence last year, but there was no effort to hide the growing pains of a 19-year-old superstar this time around.
What matters most now is that Seguin learns from this experience and looks back on it as a valuable lesson. Nobody likes to get up for a morning meeting after a late night of travel (and perhaps a social beverage or two). But thats part and parcel with having a job and a seriouscareer, and that's something that all of us learn along the way. The NHL is full of teenaged superstars learning how to be pros withinthe highest level of scrutiny, and these kinds of hiccups happenalong the way are common.It doesn't make Seguin a problem child or an issue, but it does indicate the Bruins wanted to make a statement publically.
Whats different with Seguin is that it becomes the lead story on TSN with everybody making jokes ranging fromwhat kind of cereal the kid eats for breakfast to what kind of alarm clock he was using on the road. Its all funny and harmless, and it seemed that Seguin was properly embarrassment about the whole incident after the fact.His reaction next is what matters most. As long he responds accordingly this whole breakfast incident becomes a bad joke about Lucky Charms. If it happens again then there'sa serious issue with the team's budding superstarthat needs to be addressed.
Last season Seguin scored a goalin the game after rumors swirled about a potential return to his OHL Plymouth Whalers team and did it againwhen the Bs mulled the idea of sending the 18-year-old to the World Junior Tournament in December. He exploded for an electric four-point performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning after a bevy of healthy scratches during the playoffs to start his first NHL postseason experience.
Seguin has always responded to adversity with monster truck force. Its likely the Bruins expect him to explode offensively while using his embarrassment and anger as fuel.
Shawn Thornton pulled Seguin aside during Tuesday at lunchtime and had a chat with the 19-year-old about the entire situation. A respect leader in the B's clubhouse, Thornton hadfull confidenceSeguin wouldrespond when placed back in the lineup Thursday against the Florida Panthers.
I already talked to him pregame, said Thornton. Hes aware. Hes a smart kid. Hes only in his second year, but he gets it. Weve all been through it and weve all made those kinds of mistakes before.
In fact, some have been through it worse than others. In the minor leagues Thornton oncemissed a team flight from Kentucky to Newfoundland and then had to find his own way northin order to catch up to the team before theautomatic healthy scratch.
Thats not exactly an easy journey for a player that already knows hes in the doghouse.
The difference: Thornton learned his lessons in the minor leagues and got razzed by his teammates and coach.
Seguins tardiness became part of the national sports conversation in Canada Tuesday nightand proved once again that its not always easy growing up from hockey phenom into responsible adult when theres a national audience watching you. It's a difficult lesson to learn, but it's the growing pains that come along with shepherding an electric young hockey talent like Seguin in the big boy world of the NHL.