Seguin fighting sophomore streaks

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Seguin fighting sophomore streaks

OTTAWA Its been pretty stunning to see the contrast between the red-hot Tyler Seguin over the first six weeks of the season, and the offensive bystander donning the No. 19 jersey over the last month.

Through the first 15 games of the season, the 19-year-old stormed out of the gate and was leading the way for a group of Bruins teammates that werent quite ready for optimum output to start the year. Seguin had 20 points (11 goals, 9 assists) in his first 15 games and was among the NHLs leading scorers while fulfilling some of the promise expected of him when he was the No. 2 overall pick.

But Seguin has hit a bit of a sophomore wall in the last 15 games with two goals and four assists along with the healthy scratch when he missed the morning meetings in Winnipeg prior to a game against the Jets. Theres little doubt Seguin isnt quite as aggressive or dogged as he was in the first two months, and the one-on-one battles for pucks have reverted to rookie mode.

But one area Seguin hasnt slacked off with is playing responsibly in his own end, and thats something Claude Julien will always approve. Seguin still leads the NHL with a plus-21 rating, and both linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are also in the leagues top five with more than a 13 of the regular season in the books.

With the pace that Seguin was on to start the season, there was almost too big of a gap in between his rookie year and second year, said Julien. Realistically we knew he wasnt going to be able to keep up that pace. Hes still growing. But hes not a guy thats costing us at the defensive end. Thats important.

Hes not a liability. When you become a liability at one end and youre not producing at the other thats when it becomes a problem. Were trying to be a little bit patient while helping him through his situation to make him a more consistent player. Hes going through it as a young player, but we have veterans that go through the same thing.

The difference: the veterans dont have the same kind of offensive upside when things are clicking like Seguin does. Its about time for things to start clicking in for the talented youngster while hes fighting some growing pangs.

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

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Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
 
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
 
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
 
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
 
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.