RALEIGH, N.C. Tyler Seguin will be practicing with the rest of his Bruins teammates in Wilmington on Monday morning, and wont get the day off in Carolina that fellow All-Star participants Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara are enjoying.
He didnt play in the high-scoring All-Star Game on Sunday as Thomas and Chara did -- Seguin was part of the Saturday fesitivities -- so it was a no-brainer he'd be traveling back to Boston before the Bruins board a flight on Monday afternoon going down to Carolina.
It wont the first, or last, part of the 18-year-old's learning experience as he adjusts to life in the National Hockey League.
Getting named to the Rookie SuperSkills competition at NHL All-Star weekend was a big part of the maturation process. Now that Seguin has enjoyed a taste of how the other half lives, he needs to heed the lessons of what it takes to get -- and stay -- at that level.
It was a great experience. It was lot of fun. I met a lot of new guys from the other teams and made a few friends, so that was cool, said Seguin. Its not that easy at this kind of event to see the pregame routine from all of the guys, but its great sharing a locker room with guys like this.
Its just like having really good veterans on your team, so its just like Boston where I have plenty of guys that I can ask questions if I have them.
Seguin was treated like royalty during the Fan Fair and All-Star fantasy draft, and got a chance to hobnob with hockeys elite during the SuperSkills challenge.
There are some talented players and some supersuperstars playing here. It was cool to meet Alex Ovechkin and he wason my team for the skills challenge, said Seguin. Last year I wasntin the NHL. I was at home, but now I was able to meet all of the guysand become a part of it.
He got a long, clear view of the work ethic and talent embodied in each of the All-Stars. Being able to return to the event as a full-fledged All-Star himself should serve as the motivation over the last few months of the regular season, the playoffs, and then an important summer of conditioning work and gym dedication.
Now its back to reality when the Bruins take the ice against the Carolina Hurricanes at the very same RBC Center on Tuesday night. That means back on the learning curve for Seguin, who's had his ups and downs over the first 48 games of the season . . . and probably will have a few more during his first spin around the NHL.
Seguin has seven goals and nine assists in his 48 games played this season, and posted his second-best month of the season in January with two goals and three assists in 14 games along with an even plusminus. The numbers put Seguin on pace for 26 points this year, but it may be time for him to start stepping up his pace, waging more battles, and show a greater willingness to take chances offensively down the stretch.
With Marc Savard out of the lineup because of a moderate concussion, Seguin has been thrust into a bigger offensive role. Coach Claude Julien has spoken of patience when it comes to Seguins game and pride at the youngster learning the nuances of positioning and defensive play, but the rookie's 97.1 mph shot, silky hands and swift skating speed are too good to disappear as often as they do during the course of games.
Seguin watched All-Stars work hard and make plays over the weekend, and these are lessons he should take with him back to Boston.
The Bruins need more of the talented young player who notched multiple-point games twice in the beginning days of January, and appeared to be taking the bull by the horns as Stephen Stamkos a couple of years ago during the second half of his rookie season in Tampa Bay. They need less of the guy whi's gone seven games without cracking the score sheet headed into Carolina on Tuesday.
Its not too late for Seguin to weave together an impactful rookie season, but its got to start happening sooner and more consistently.
A little less kid and a lot more prodigy is exactly what the Bruins are looking for, and exactly what Seguin should provide after getting a glimpse at his own All-Star future.
His own future, that is, if he wants it badly enough.