Seguin still looking for first goal of the season


Seguin still looking for first goal of the season

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.

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all. 

Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment


Friday, Oct. 21: Pee-wee push-ups draw coach’s punishment

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while anxiously awaiting a Cleveland/Chicago Cubs World Series showdown with all of the Red Sox subplots that could be involved.

*A peewee hockey coach in Quebec has been given a season-long suspension for punishing his players with hundreds of push-ups.

*The NHL game has changed radically over the last 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist has been a fixture for the New York Rangers.

*A lot has changed since Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal in 1990 and this article is worth it for the Jagr mullet picture alone.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says that a healthy Brandon Sutter has been a difference-maker for the Canucks.

*Carey Price is back in net for the Montreal Canadiens, and that makes the Habs a new team as they prepare for the Bruins on Saturday.

*This is what it looks like when you’ve completely given up on just about everything else except for being a hockey fan. So very gross.

*For something completely different: The Doctor Strange cast is being forced into answering some tough questions at the premiere of what is essentially a comic book movie.