Notes: Seguin starting to 'get it'

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Notes: Seguin starting to 'get it'

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. They certainly come from different puck backgrounds with totally different styles, but 22-year-old Brad Marchand and 19-year-old Tyler Seguin will both go into the Bruins record books together.

With Seguin notching his 10th goal and 10th assist in Bostons 6-3 victory over the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum, the rookie duo became the first Bs first-year players to pot 10 or more goals in a season since three rookies did it for Boston during the 1992-93 NHL season.

That trio of rookies was the memorable Steve Heinze, Ted Donato and Joey Juneau during the golden era of the modern Bruins, and they also had 26-year-old Dmitri Kvartalnov potting 30 goals in his first season despite being too old to be considered a rookie.

While Marchand has been gaining notoriety for his strong play with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi over the last six weeks, its Seguin thats beginning to earn plaudits from Claude Julien after his recent stretch of games. It appears that Seguin finally gets it, and has ramped up his battling willingness and puck determination while getting involved in 1-on-1 skirmishes all over the ice.

To hear Julien tell it, its not about Seguin running over people or making a bit hit. Thats not it at all. Instead its about the skilled, intelligent young center simply getting in the way, playing aggressive and refusing to give away any puck battles in the priority areas all over the ice.

I thought he played well and skated well. I think hes really starting to get a chance to show us what that talent is all about. I think earlier things werent happening for him offensively for him, and thats what came most naturally to his game, said Julien. Ive said all along this is a young man thats pretty smart and he gets it.

Thats exactly what we talked to him about: take time to make plays and dont get rid of the puck so fast. The most important part of the game that he has is the skill level, and theres the compete level where he needs to go into the corners and come out of battles with the puck. Theres no need to run somebody into the boards because thats not his game. But hes a smart individual and hes figuring it out.

Julien liked what we saw offensively out of his Bruins team, but there were still some defensive miscues that the normally sound Bs dont even come close to making.

I thought we played well offensively, said Julien. Defensively we had some breakdowns. Its been better and the defense was better, but that doesnt get corrected overnight. Thats going to make some, but we just need to keep working on those little things.

The opportunities and the chances that were giving away defensively are things that weve got to correct. Those are the things that are going to help us win some hockey games at the end.

Mark Stuart was a healthy scratch for the Bs after playing well in his last handful of games, and was nowhere to be found in the Bruins locker room after the game was over a set of circumstances that did nothing to cut down speculation Stuart is on the verge of being traded to Chicago.

Its pretty clear the refs are watching the New York Islanders like hawks after the incident between the Isles and the Pens at Nassau Coliseum last week. Michael Haley was chasing Gregory Campbell all over the ice challenging him to a fight to no avail, and Haley ended up getting slapped with a 10-minute misconduct.

Likewise Zenon Konopka got into a first period scrap with Adam McQuaid, and seemed to catch McQuaid squarely in the eye that limited the big defensemans ice time to 38 seconds in the first period. The refs deemed that Konopkas fight was premeditated following Bostons first goal in a futile attempt to win back some momentum for New York.

While Tomas Kaberle isnt a member of the Bruins just yet, check out this list compiled by Elias Sports Bureau: the top power play assist men in the NHL over the last six seasons, and perhaps one or two of the names will surprise you. A hat tip for CSN Producer David Green for emailing this my way earlier this season.

176 Thornton, Joe
163 Crosby, Sidney
157 Kaberle, Tomas
152 Lidstrom, Nicklas
151 Gonchar, Sergei
150 Sedin, Henrik
138 Pronger, Chris
138 Richards, Brad
138 Savard, Marc
131 Datsyuk, Pavel
130 Ovechkin, Alex

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.