Seguin searching for consistency in second year

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Seguin searching for consistency in second year

PITTSBURGH Even when Tyler Seguins offensive production slows down as it had with one goal and four points in his last nine games headed into Monday nights showdown with the Penguins the 19-year-old sniper is still dangerous.

Thats perhaps one of the biggest differences between this season and his rookie year when he managed 11 goals and 22 points.

Seguin has the confidence to jump up and strike an opponent when hes run into a little bit of a wall, and that was the case with his power play goal minutes into the third period that put the finishing touches on a 3-1 win over the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center.

The goal gives him a team-leading 13 goals and 25 points in 25 games this season, so Seguin is keeping his point-per-game pace up. But the two shots on net and minus-1 in 13:02 of ice time signify that the Bs natural born scorer is fighting through a second-year lull thats bound to happen to a player learning at an exceptional rate.

He admitted following Bostons 14th win in 15 games that hes become frustrated in the last few games, and is hoping to recreate the magic and playmaking that typified the first six weeks to his breakout season.

Hopefully I can stop getting so frustrated in my head and start playing well, said Seguin. Its something I have to try to avoid. A lot of times people say its hard to stay consistent in this league and its something Ive heard many times. Its something Im trying to crack.

Im the first one to admit that I feel that way sometimes. Its bugging me that Im falling into that. But Im working my out of it and playing as strong as I can.

The goal itself was a thing of beauty with the Bruins opening the final period with a power play to start the action. Patrice Bergeron carried the puck into the offensive zone on the right side, and hit the turbo button while speeding past a flat-footed Matti Niskanen en route to the net. Bergeron got Marc-Andre Fleury to commit to Bergerons shot, and the center flipped a pass across the ice to Seguin for a scorched one-timer that gave Fleury zero chance to recover.

As it with many of Seguins pinpoint shots the puck hit the netting and bounced back out of the crease area like a rocket, but there was the goal. It was one the youngster wanted badly.

I dont know how many goals Id have if I didnt have Bergeron and Marchand on my line, but it was just nice to finish it off, said Seguin, who described the goal as nothing more than a tap in.

Production will come with Seguin once he gathers another burst of frenetic energy and gets back into lockstep with Bergeron to become the two-man fore-checking nightmare they represented through the majority of the season. Its simple reality that a youngster as talented as Seguin is going to find consistent excellence as more teams and more defenses pay closer attention to him with and without the puck.

Just witness the exchange between Sidney Crosby and Seguin after the teenager bumped Pittsburghs center prior to a whistle and cover-up in Bostons end during the first period. Crosby took notice and launched a few verbal barrages at Seguin, and the youngster returned fire on the Face of the NHL.

"I have the utmost respect for Crosby. He's one of best players in the world, said Seguin. But youve just gotta chirp back sometimes.

Thats the kind of answer that lets you know Seguin is figuring it out on the ice and will solve whatever has ailed him over the last 10 games. The third period power play strike might have been the start of something good.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.