Production, not physicality, key for Seguin

Production, not physicality, key for Seguin
May 17, 2013, 5:15 pm
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BOSTON – The physicality of Tyler Seguin during hockey games has long been a topic of discussion in Boston.

Claude Julien spoke in joking terms about his work along the walls earlier this season after a win on the road in Carolina, and the 21-year-old himself has admitted that he picks his spots to battle for pucks during the regular season. But there’s little question that Seguin has upped his physicality during the playoffs, and has as many hits (15) in eight playoff games as Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr have combined for during Boston’s playoff run.

Claude Julien has noticed the upped intensity when it comes to finishing off checks and battling for pucks, but it’s obviously never going to be a strong suit in Seguin’s brand of hockey. Instead the Bruins coach wants to see Seguin turn his shots on net into actual goal-scoring production. The only players that have produced more shots on net (33) than Seguin during the playoffs are Zdeno Chara, Henrik Zetterberg and the recently eliminated James van Riemsdyk.

But Seguin still has zero goals after eight playoff games, and hasn’t produced nearly enough for a Black and Gold team that desperately needs something from him offensively.

“Just before [the Rangers] scored that goal at the end of the second period, you see Tyler going hard to the net on that shot,” said Julien. “When you look at the winning goal that [Bergeron] scored [in Game 7], he was the one that did all of the dirty work in front of the net,” said Julien. “So I don’t think right now it’s a matter of him playing hard. It’s more a matter that I think people expect, and we expect, that he should be a little more productive.

“[He should] be able to make a few more plays and be a bit more of a threat right now, like so other players that you’re hearing about from other teams having a hard time finding that. If he finds his game, we know how much of a threat he can be, and we’ve got to keep working with him. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

What the Bruins can’t have is the soft play from Seguin on Ryan McDonagh’s goal in Game 1 at the end of the second period. The winger came up short in a one-on-one battle with Rick Nash along the side walls for puck possession as the clock was running down, and that turned into a crushing New York goal right before the end of the period. Thankfully for Seguin and the Bruins, Game 1 had a happy ending with Brad Marchand’s overtime game-winner. But it becomes that much more difficult to overlook some of the deficiencies in Seguin’s game if he’s not turning those bushels of shots on net into bona fide playoff goals.