Providence Bruins one option for Seguin if there's a lockout


Providence Bruins one option for Seguin if there's a lockout

WILMINGTON, Mass. The immediate futures are starting to take shape for plenty of Bruins with the NHL lockout a very real thing set to happen at the midnight deadline Saturday night headed into Sunday.

Some with European ties like Dennis Seidenberg and David Krejci will be headed to their home countries before long.

Some like Milan Lucic, who is expecting his first child midway through the season, will be sticking in Boston to wait things out.

My only plan this year is to play for the Boston Bruins, said Lucic, without a hint of interest at playing overseas.

Some like Tyler Seguin might be wearing a familiar uniform if things go similarly to the last NHL lockout eight years ago.

The 20-year-old Seguin confirmed on Friday following an informal practice at Ristuccia Arena that he is eligible to play for the Providence Bruins this season if theres a lockout.

Ive been looking into it a little bit. You want to have some options if theres a lockout and I have mine, said Seguin. My understanding is that I could go to Providence. We havent decided on anything and havent really talked about anything. I havent talked to management since the contract, so nothing is in motion with that stuff.

Similar to Patrice Bergeron skating in the 2004-05 AHL season after his rookie year with the Bruins, Seguin could be playing for the P-Bruins farm club by virtue of being in the final year of his entry level contract with Boston. That means Jordan Caron would also be eligible to skate for the Providence Bruins next season along with a bevy of young prospects like Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight.

Anton Khudobin was on Providences clear day list last year, so the Kazakhstan goaltender might also be eligible for Providence again this year, but hed have to pass through waivers. That doesnt seem likely with the Bruins unwilling to lose their backup goaltender for the upcoming season.

Seguin, who led the Bruins in goals and points while pacing the NHL in plusminus last season in his breakout second NHL campaign, admitted he hasnt yet had any discussions with the Bruins about his immediate future if theres a lockout.

During the 2004-05 lockout year when young NHL players like Patrice Bergeron, Eric Staal and Jason Spezza played in the American Hockey League, there were many skaters that reported to the minors after their NHL rookie season.

There were, however, much fewer NHL players that reported to the AHL after two seasons of service, and Seguin could qualify to play in somewhere as far reaching as the KHL this season by virtue of his 155 NHL games played and Stanley Cup championship experience. With the influx of talent expected to play in Russia if theres a lengthy NHL lockout, theres an argument to be made that playing in the KHL would be the better quality league for his overall development.

But theres also plenty of pros to watching Seguin continue to develop under the Bruins watchful eyes in the New England area while skating for Providence. The All-Star forward said he was willing to do whatever was best, and was waiting to have that conversation with agent Ian Pulver and Bruins management.

Seguin didnt sound overly enthused when asked if he was interested in heading to Rhode Island for a minor league hockey season, and mentioned overseas before AHL in his list of preferred landing spots. It was similar to Seguins reticence to potentially head to the World Junior tournament during his rookie NHL season when the Bruins were contemplating such a move.

I dont know. Obviously I want to play hockey, said Seguin, who said hes also in the market this fall for a permanent residence in Boston. I want to play in the NHL and I hope that works out. But if not I can always go overseas or I can play in the AHL.

So stay tuned before running out and purchasing the P-Bruins season tickets, but there is some chance Seguin could be playing in Providence this upcoming season after skipping it the first time around.

O'Gara sent to Providence, but could return any time


O'Gara sent to Providence, but could return any time

BOSTON – The writing was on the wall once Rob O’Gara was scratched in the last couple of games, and he was finally sent down to Providence on Tuesday. The move was made to clear room for Adam McQuaid to rejoin the B’s lineup, and help the Bruins continue improving from their 15th rank among team defenses in the NHL this season.

The 23-year-old O’Gara was a plus-1 rating in three games to start the season, and played very well in 16:01 of ice time while winning physical battles, adequately moving the puck and generally showing that he’s got a future in the NHL. With veteran defenders returning and little margin for error on a B’s back end already featuring 19-year-old Brandon Carlo, it was too much to attempt carrying two rookies on an NHL defensemen corps for a long stretch of time.

So now O’Gara will go to Providence where he’ll play bigger minutes, play in all situations and stay ready for the next time Boston needs him.

“He’s good. I think he makes good passes when he has time. I think we want him to work on maybe being under pressure, and being a little stronger on his feet and being able to make better plays,” said Claude Julien. “But he’s really close. When I say he’s real close I think you could see him back here at any time. I have no issues with Rob O’Gara.

“I think as a young player he has to play, so when we can play [him again] I have no issues with him in our lineup. If he doesn’t get [the playing time] here then we’ve got to get it for him somewhere else.”

While O’Gara is going to Providence for some more AHL development at this point in time, there’s a tacit acknowledgement from the Bruins that the big, hard-working defenseman is definitely going to be a valued part of their future.

Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient


Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It may be strictly due to injuries or because Ryan Spooner is being moved back to third line center full-time, but Danton Heinen is going to get another top-six look on the wing. The 21-year-old Bruins prospect will be skating on the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild after serving as a healthy scratch last weekend against the Montreal Canadiens.

Heinen has only two shots on goal in the four games leading up to the scratch, and has been quiet offensively after leading the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason. Clearly there’s an adjustment to be made there, and it looked like the playmaking rookie winger was starting to develop a little more confidence trying to make plays while skating with Krejci and David Backes in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils.

Heinen actually looked reminiscent of Krejci on a couple of plays, pulling back the puck after entering the zone and catching a trailing B’s teammate with a perfectly executed lead pass on the offensive rush. That effort plus a trip to the ninth floor press box last weekend seemed to reinforce just how much time he has to make plays, and that should be a benefit for both Heinen and his linemates.

Sometimes getting that first NHL point is the hardest part when a player breaks into the league, and it’s been that way for the young winger through his first four games.

“[Krejci] is such a good player, and I just try to complement him any way I can,” said Heinen. “You never want to be up in the press box, but it gives you a different perspective on the game. It’s a different angle. From up there it looks like you’ve got way more time. I definitely think I can be more patient with the puck, and make some smarter plays.”

Heinen started to do that in his best NHL game to date prior to being scratched against New Jersey, and it resulted in greater offensive possession and a couple of potential scoring plays getting created for the B’s second line. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to actual goals, and Heinen knows that’s what needs to happen through him if a player like him, with an offense-minded reputation from his University of Denver days, is going to stick top-6 in Boston.

“You can’t rely on the [top] guys every night,” said Heinen, who watched the Habs beat the Bruins on Saturday night while essentially shutting down Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. “When we’ve been out there we’ve kind of been getting some chances, but we’ve got to bear down.

“[Krejci] likes to play with the puck a lot, so you just get him the puck, go in hard on the forecheck and try to get open because he’s a good distributor.”

It sounds like a simple plan that might be a very good thing for young Heinen, who needs to start breaking through offensively if he wants to stick around in Boston for the long haul.