RALEIGH, NC The season certainly hasnt started out the way Tyler Seguin envisioned after lighting up the Swiss League like he was being powered by rocket-fueled Toblerone bars.
In Switzerland, Seguin lit up the competition for 25 goals and 40 points in 29 games while fully admitting that the leagues focus was on skill or physicality.
Back in North America the 20-year-old prodigy is now goalless in his first four games of the season, and has only a single assist after setting up Brad Marchand against Winnipeg. Seguin also dazzled Ondrej Pavelec in the same game with a laser wrist shot to the glove side during the shootout, but has been otherwise quiet in the early going for the Black and Gold.
Hes acutely aware that he hasnt scored a goal in his team's first four games, and hes now applying the some pressure on himself to produce offensively.
Seguin is also keenly aware that Bostons 1-for-17 to start the season on the power play would likely be a much more palatable number if he was off to a torrid start offensively.
Im working on things, admitted Seguin, who had a goal and four points after his first four games last year. Ive had pressure on myself since I didnt have a goal after one period in the first game of the year. Youve just got to not get frustrated. You know when you get one that youll get a bunch, and I just need to bear down and focus on the chances Im getting. Its about just keep shooting pucks at the net.
Seguin has 11 shots on goal in the first four games, and hes had some chances to get on scoreboards. He missed an empty-net chance against the Islanders, and also saw Rick DiPietro make a pretty good stop when he flipped a bad angle shot at the goaltenders back.
So the chances have been there, and thats the good news.
One game Bergeron gave me a pass at an empty net and I just missed it. Against the Islanders I had a tough-angle shot, and the majority of the time those somehow sneak in and land on the goalies chest, said Seguin. Ive never had an empty net goal in my career in junior or the NHL. Id have to think about it at the junior level, but I dont think I ever did. It will be nice to finally get one of those.
The Bruins coaching staff and management, on the other hand, feels that the transition back to the smaller ice surfaces in North America has forced Seguin to re-adjust his game. In Switzerland, Seguin had plenty of open ice to operate on the more expansive frozen surface, and there was time and space to make plays in the attack zone. Back in the NHL, defenders are on him more quickly when hes dangling with the puck. Theres also clearly been a concerted effort by NHL defenses to pay close attention to Bostons leading scorer from last year.
When youve got a wider ice surface you have more area to spread out and work with, said coach Claude Julien. Not only that, but when youve got a bigger ice surface teams can get a little more passive. When you give Tyler that kind of time hes going to make plays.
So its a little bit tighter here and a little bit more aggressive, and hes making the adjustment. We see that. Its not from lack of will as much as its about him adjusting back to North America.
The good news for Seguin is that his line is producing with both Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron already bagging their first goals of the season. And their line continues to hold their opponents down offensively.
The team is also winning games despite Seguins modest goal-scoring drought that he hopes to end quickly as his reentry into the NHL is now almost two weeks old.