Seguin not sweating his goal count

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Seguin not sweating his goal count

WILMINGTON, MA Tyler Seguin is aware that hes scored only one non-empty net goal in his first 11 games of the season.

The 21-year-old is still getting the invitations to be the cover boy for the Improper Bostonian and there are still No. 19 Seguin jerseys all over the TD Garden stands at home games. So the heat and sizzle is still there for Seguin as the young darling of the Boston sports scene, but hes also going through the first real offensive struggles of his career with the Bruins in whats been a charmed hockey existence.

Im not scoring. Ive had opportunities and Im not bearing down on some of them. But Im playing good in my defensive zone, said Seguin. Im just shooting. Ive been trying a lot of different things. Maybe I was a little too cute at first, but not Im just trying to get pucks on net.

I know eventually that a couple will go in and Ill go on a roll. I just need to stay with it and bear down.

His coach, Claude Julien, said after Thursdays practice that its a matter of Seguin pushing himself to get a little more out of his game offensively. The Bruins are currently middle-of-the-road offensively while averaging just 2.7 goals per game, and that mark couldshould rise significantly once Seguin goes on a goal-scoring tear.

We know we can get more out of him. Its a matter of pushing him and its a matter of him pushing himself, said Julien. He hasnt been a poor player, but I think there is more thats expected of him. I think theres more that he can give us.

Hes still a young player. You can squish him and make it worse, or you can try to help him through it. You can push the right buttons to get his game back to where it should be.

Theres little doubt that is true, but theres also plenty to like about the game hes currently putting up. Hes second on the Bruins with 34 shots squeezed off in 11 games and he leads the team with a plus-8 rating while ranking sixth on Boston with six points this season.

But expectations have been raised for the All-Star forward in his third season, and there are whispers out there that Seguin isnt battling hard enough. Hes not taking it hard enough to the net and the young forward is shying away from contact, and thats why the goals havent been as plentiful. While its true that Tyler Seguin is never going to play the walls like a bruising Milan Lucic, that will never be the case for a 6-foot-1, 182-pound forward built to score goals and create offensively.

When Seguin was asked if his compete level is the problem, thats not exactly how he sees it.

I dont agree with that at all. If you go look at my shifts its not like Im losing battles all over the ice or anything like that. You cant explain it, said Seguin, who had 4 goals and 11 points along with a plus-8 after his first 11 games last season. When theyre going in theyre going in, and when theyre not, then theyre not. Were 11 games in and we still have a long way to go.

Im not going to say Im worried. Im just trying to be even more focused as the days go on here that Ill start putting them in. Im not about to quit the game quite yet.

The biggest thing Seguin has going for him while not firing on all cylinders offensively: the team is still winning hockey games. The microscope would be trained with a great deal more scrutiny on Seguins struggles if the Bruins werent off to an 8-1-2 start in their first 11 games.

Instead Seguin has managed to fly under the radar ever so slightly while he attempts to find the goal-scoring range, and Julien attempts to push the right buttons that will suddenly turn his puck phenom back into a scoring machine.

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.
 

 

Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

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Friday, July 22: Versteeg headed for Europe

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading, while vowing to never try to marry the NHL and Pokemon into the same lame story.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Kris Versteeg one of a number of NHL veteran free agents going to Europe for next season.

*The New York Islanders have reportedly been discussing moving to Queens and building a rink right next to the Mets’ Citi Field. Interesting. I know the Isles fan base was not happy with the setup in Brooklyn last season.

*The Black Knights get the top odds as a moniker for the Las Vegas franchise with a number of funny long shot names.

*Ian Mendes said that it’s pretty clear by the moves of the Ottawa Senators that they believe their time is now.

*Jason Botchford wonders if the Vancouver Canucks have a shot at being a playoff team next season. I hope so for Jim Benning’s sake.

*Ken Campbell wants to know if Brad Richards and Vincent Lecavalier, now that they’re both retired, are Hall of Fame-worthy players. I say no to both of them, but I can be stingy with my Hall of Fame qualifications as the Jarome Iginla fanboys know so well.

*For something completely different: Jon Stewart brought the funk and the noise while breaking his TV silence on Thursday night and tearing into a GOP that’s coming apart at the seams right now.