Seguin realizing how difficult center position is

Seguin realizing how difficult center position is
April 5, 2013, 11:00 am
Share This Post

The early reports are in for Tyler Seguin’s first major look at center, and the results are: promising, but with a clear admission that the 21-year-old is going to be a work in progress.

Seguin finished with a plus-1 rating and fired three shots on net, and it was his line that provided the team’s only offensive output of the game thanks to the left skate blade of Jaromir Jagr. But the Bruins forward also lost 9-of-12 face-offs and admitted after the game that he now realizes exactly how difficult – and perhaps a little thankless – it is for Patrice Bergeron to perform the flawless two-way play that’s marked his nine-year NHL career.

In other words: No. 19 has some gigantic skates to fill at both ends of the ice.

“The first shift I was like, ‘Bergy [Patrice Bergeron], I appreciate you a lot more right now.’ Yeah, definitely, I don’t know,” said Seguin. “I guess the first period I felt it a little bit more, but as the game progressed I felt like I could use my speed a little bit more. It was just about finding those areas.

“It’s one thing from being a centerman and then going to the NHL, but it’s another thing from going center to wing in the NHL and then going back to center. It’s going to take some adjustment.”

It may be short-lived audition for Seguin with Chris Kelly on the verge of returning from a broken left tibia, and a return by the steady Kelly to the lineup could push Rich Peverley up to center Seguin and Brad Marchand while looking for more stability down the middle. But there’s also the very real dynamic of leaving Seguin with Marchand and Jagr together to let their chemistry gel, and watch what that kind of offensive firepower can produce while skating together.

It was clear that everybody needs to be better in their own end, and that’s something Claude Julien stressed after watching the Bruins allow 40 shots in the 1-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The absence of their two best defensive centers in Bergeron and Kelly certainly contributed to a little too much room for New Jersey skaters to operate with during the game.

“Tyler [Seguin] is obviously realizing, probably, how tough it is for Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] to play that position, because playing in the D-zone, there’s a lot of territory to cover as a centerman. When pucks are going from one side to the other, he wasn’t always there,” said Julien. “That’s the work in progress, and that’s what we expected. That’s what he’s going to get used to.

“But overall, that line was fine. You’ve got to remember there’s a Hall of Famer on that line with two young players who were probably looking for him a bit too much versus making the plays or taking the shots like they should’ve. Hopefully, it will wear off and it will get better.”

If Seguin gets another crack at the center spot on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens in a battle for first place, he’ll be aspiring to be much better than “fine.” But everybody knows it’s a work in progress, and the time in the pivot is going to make No. 19 a much better player in the long run. There’s no question it is something he couldn’t have successfully attempted as recently as a year ago, and that’s a reflection of just how far Seguin has already come as a complete player developing in the Black and Gold system.