BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin wasn’t shocked when he found a gray practice jersey hanging in his practice stall at Ristuccia Arena on Sunday morning following a rough night in Montreal. The 21-year-old gave it a go as a top-six center for a couple of games, but was struggling badly to get in the proper position in the defensive zone early in the first period of Saturday’s loss to the Habs.
His line was on the ice for the first goal allowed to Alex Galchenyuk when they couldn’t get the puck out of the defensive zone, and was on the ice for a close call a few shifts later. So Claude Julien lifted Seguin out of the center spot and put him back on the wing with Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley.
“I think I’ve given more compliments to [Patrice Bergeron] in the last couple of days than I have all year,” said Seguin, who was shut out without a single shot on net in Saturday’s loss. “It definitely gives you more appreciation for how hard he works and the little things that he does at his position."
“It’s one thing going from the OHL to the NHL, and it’s totally another going from center to wing in the NHL - and then going back to center. There’s going to be an adjustment period. I’ve seen Bergeron work and I was confident that I could step in there and get the job done. But in the three-and-a-half periods I was playing center, I guess it just wasn’t working out.”
Unfortunately the Bruins didn’t have the kind of time to spend on those adjustments in Montreal, and they continue to be pressed for time with only 11 games left until the Stanley Cup playoffs get going.
Julien further tweaked the lines for Monday night’s game by placing Seguin on the third line right wing with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille, and it’s likely to be a work in progress with Bergeron out of the lineup. But the one certainty is that Seguin looks much more comfortable on the wing than he does at center at this point in his young NHL career.
“I just wasn’t doing a good job in the D-zone and got running around a little bit. I can’t say I was shocked that it got changed,” admitted Seguin following Monday’s morning skate at TD Garden. “The timing and when you’re going through the neutral zone – and when you have to really pick it up. There’s obviously a lot of responsibility in your own end with battling and finding your man."
“We’re mixing things up. I’ve played third line before in my first year. Obviously, Kelly will be out there with me as well. So that will be good.”
There’s no telling how long Bergeron will be out of the lineup, and how long the Bruins will need to juggle their lines to try and find the proper, workable combinations that can thrive both offensive and defensively. But it does appear sliding Seguin over to center is a project that might not be revisited again until next season when a full training camp and plenty of adjustment time could assist the young forward’s transition.