WINNIPEG Given the way his puck luck has gone over the last few weeks, Tyler Seguinhad some negative thoughts when his second period tipped goal was under videoreview by the NHL. Did Seguinthink it was coming off the board? 100 percent, said a smiling Seguin. The only thing I was thinking on thebench is that its not going to count because of a high stick or something.When it happened I was battling with a guy and I put my stick out with my eyesshut, so I wasnt exactly sure what happened. But then I finally saw the replay and didnt think it was ahigh stick.So instead Seguins strikecounted as his third goal of the season and Bostons opening score in a 3-2 victory overthe Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre, and Claude Julien was giving the21-year-old credit for his best all-around game of the season after it was allover. The Bruins winger was solid in the defensive end and even broke up anodd-man rush in the first period on a hustling back-check when Zdeno Chara wasout of a play with a broken stick. It was great to see Seguinscore a goal, but more than that he just played a great overall game, saidpartner in crime Brad Marchand, who notched the game-winner in the thirdperiod. If you watched him tonight, he was everywhere. He back-checked veryhard, he was great in our end, he was shooting the puck and thats what youneed out of him. When he plays like that were a pretty tough team to beat.When things arent going the way you want sometimes you just need a goal likethat to get you going.That defense led to offense in the second period with theBruins down 1-0 after an Alex Burmistrov goal. Zdeno Chara lobbed a shot fromthe right point toward the net and both Seguinand Brad Marchand converged on the shot at the same time. It was Seguin moving toward the cage that got a raised stick onthe puck and tipped it past Winnipeggoalie Ondrej Pavelec. It was one of seven shots attempted by Seguin in victory, and a sign that the Bruinsforward has upped his grit game with a greasy goal that wont necessarily makeany highlight reels anytime soon. Even though its a tip thats not usually my game, Illtake it, said Seguin.Obviously when youre not scoring and producing the guys see that youregetting frustrated. The message I got over and over was to keep battling and tomaybe take my grit up another level and my compete level up. Thats what Itried to do tonight.Now its up to Seguinto keep things humming offensively after breaking through with a greasy one: hesgot two goals in his last six games after potting one empty netter in his firstnine games of the season. Things are set up for a productive rest of the road trip forSeguin if hecan keep the grit level at a respectable level until shots start falling forthe Bruins forward on a regular basis.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruins aren’t going to have anything resembling an All-Star lineup when they take the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night at TD Garden for their preseason opener. But they'll take a long, lingering look at their future with a game-night roster full of prospects and young players who still get butterflies at the thought of putting on an NHL sweater for an Original Six club.
Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, Jakub Zboril, Robbie O’Gara, Peter Cehlarik and Brandon Carlo are among the top B’s youngsters that will be in the lineup, and will be cranking up the energy prior to puck drop against the Blue Jackets.
“Everybody is really excited. I woke up this morning with a big smile on my face knowing that I get to put the B’s jersey on and get to go out [on the ice] at TD Garden,” said Brandon Carlo, who will be paired with John-Michael Liles as he has been throughout the start of training camp. “I probably won’t have much of a nap today because I’m so amped up.
“I feel like I’m moving my feet out there, and I want to show that I’ve gotten better at things I worked on over the summer like moving the puck. I definitely want to show a little bit of physicality out there as well.”
The young players are the ones who also provide the most unknown variable for the coaching staff at this point. So the first preseason game is largely about how those hopefuls respond to faster, more physical and intense competition.
“You’re looking to see effort and energy tonight. If the effort and energy is there everything else will take care of itself,” said assistant coach Joe Sacco. “You don’t really want them to think too much out there tonight. This is a game where players are trying to showcase their talent, and we want them to do that.”
Sacco said Anton Khudobin will play the first two periods and Zane McIntyre will wrap things up. Here are the line combos and D-pairings expected to take the ice against the Blue Jackets:
BRIGHTON -- He may not get the chance, since he's now 32 and has thrown (and taken) plenty of hits during his 11-year NHL career, but new Bruin David Backes said he hopes to play for Team USA again to “have a nice taste in my mouth”.
Clearly, his last experience left a bad taste: The Americans finished dead last in the World Cup of Hockey, which is winding down now with Team Europe and Team Canada playing for the championship.
What also left a bad taste for Backes were the passive-aggressive Tweets sent out by U.S.-born players like Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan after the Americans lost all three games they played in the World Cup. And he isn't about to back down from the pointed criticism he directed at them.
“I was one of the guys called upon to go to the rink on a day off after we were eliminated . . . . one of four to stand up and answer the questions,” said Backes, who certainly showed his personal accountability by showing up to answer questions after Team USA had flopped on the world stage. “Rather than defer and plead the Fifth, I thought it was something we needed to address. I think it’s easy to sit back and sling mud . . . when you’re not a part of it.
“[You can] kind of make yourself feel good about it (by criticizing Team USA) for a second, but if I wasn’t selected for the team, or if I’m not selected to the Olympic team in two years, I’m still American, I’ve still worn that jersey, and I’m going to root for those guys and hope everything goes well. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be crushed like I was on the team. That’s how I think as a team guy and as a guy that’s worn that jersey proudly and how much it means to me.
"I just hope and wish the other guys had those same feelings. If you’ve got some vindication not being on the team, and the team failing or not accomplishing the goal, then you should internalize that and use it as motivation going forward. You don’t need to join in with the chatter that’s negative and keeps piling on. Those are my visceral thoughts on the subject.”
Backes was a healthy scratch for Team USA’s final game against the Czech Republic, a listless defeat that dropped the U.S. to the bottom of the World Cup standings. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for a competitor who clearly understands the importance of representing one’s country.
So it’s no surprise the Bruins center hopes he gets a chance to redeem himself by making the 2018 Winter Olympics team. Backes has skated for the U.S. in each of the last two Olympics.
“I hope (the World Cup isn't the last time I play for my country), but that’s out of my control,” said Backes. “If my services seem like I can help a team be successful, I’d love to put that jersey on and have a nice taste in my mouth for the last time I use it, or the next time I use it. But there are a lot of great players that are Americans, and the next GM, or whoever it is constructing the team, will have decisions to make. Whoever they pick, I hope [the team] goes and puts us back on top of the pedestal for whatever competition it is.”
Clearly the Bruins hope that as well, since it would be a clear indicator Backes is performing at an elite level a couple of seasons into his five-year, big-money contract with Boston.