Seguin turning over defensive leaf for Bruins

Seguin turning over defensive leaf for Bruins
March 11, 2013, 3:30 pm
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The Bruins traded Tyler Seguin to the Stars in a blockbuster deal Thursday.

(USA Today Sports)

OTTAWA -- Everybody talks about Tyler Seguin’s offense, but he’s been getting the Claude Julien seal of approval in every corner of the ice.

That means the 21-year-old is getting the job done in the defensive zone while heating up at the offensive end of the ice. Seguin has five goals and seven points in his last five games, but -- perhaps more amazingly -- has only one minus game on his resume for the entire season.

That’s the exact kind of reputation that Seguin has always hoped for: to be effective at both ends of the ice and to gain that Patrice Bergeron-like reputation where defensive responsibility doesn’t take a backseat to anything.

“We always take pride in being a complete team,” said Seguin. “It’s all about contributing any way you can even if you’re not scoring. It’s just basically playing my style of game while using things I’ve picked up by watching [Patrice Bergeron] as a two-way forward.

“That’s what I want to be and that’s something I’ve always focused on," Seguin said. "There are a lot of ‘scorers’ out there, but I’m somebody that takes a lot of pride in my defense. Our whole line does that.”

That’s the reason he’s tied for 10th in the league with a plus/minus of plus-16 and is second behind only Patrice Bergeron’s plus-17 among Bruins players. There are also clear-cut examples of Seguin’s willingness to jump into the defensive mix and make plays that literally save goals from being scored.  

“Tyler Seguin is really turning a corner right now,” said Julien. “He’s starting to be the player everybody expected him to be at the start of the season. He had a slow start to the season, but he’s really picked it up.

“He’s battling a lot better along the boards and he’s doing a great job with the back-check. In the last two weeks he’s saved two goals just by himself. It’s a credit to him and it’s a credit to the entire line the way they’ve bought in together playing the same way.”

The first play was when a hustling Seguin took the place of Zdeno Chara in the defensive zone after the 6-foot-9 defenseman’s stick snapped, and the Bruins forward dove head-first to break up a potential odd man rush toward the Boston net. On Saturday afternoon Seguin jumped into the crease with Tuukka Rask out of position and managed to deflect a puck away from danger while showing some impressive street hockey goalie skills.

While Boston’s young All-Star forward remains a healthy distance for Selke Trophy consideration anytime soon, his teammates and the Bruins coaching staff will gladly take the plays that keep opponents from putting pucks in the net.

That’s what really matters to Seguin and the rest of his defensively-minded Bruins teammates.