Seguin a healthy scratch against Canadiens

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Seguin a healthy scratch against Canadiens

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON In a move expected since the lines were formed at practice on Tuesday, Boston's 19-year-old rookie center, Tyler Seguin, will be a healthy scratch tonight vs. the Montreal Canadiens in a pivotal Northeast Division battle at TD Garden.The Habs have had the Bs number all year and left an indelible mark on the Bruins when they snatched an overtime victory away from Boston at the Bell Centre during a frenzied third-period comeback last month.With the gravity of the game in mind and an admission from coach Claude Julien that Seguin has lost a little bit of his edge, the Bs have decided to roll out a line of Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder centered by Zach Hamill, with the No. 2 overall pick in last summer's draftwatching from the ninth floor of TD Garden.Julien confirmed it after Wednesday's morning skate.Were giving Hamill a shot, but the competition is going to be on him when we have everybody back, said Julien, who didnt wait until tonight'swarmup to name his healthy scratch. We have to sit somebody out. I know who he is and I know where he was drafted and all that stuff. I think right now weve brought Jordan Caron up because hes a good fit on that fourth line and weve brought Hamill up to get a good look at himas a third year pro. Theres a lot on Seguins plate right now. I know hes lost a bit of his edge and there are times when hes lost the puck when he should be able to hold onto it. There are parts of his game that have slipped a little bit, but that doesnt change the outlook of what we think of him. I think its a phase that hes going through this year. It's never a bad thing to watch and never a bad thing to rest this time of the year.Peter Chiarelli told 98.5 The Sports Hubs Toucher and Rich on Wednesday morning that he would like to send Seguin to the Providence Bruins for a two-week conditioning stint at this point in the season but the Bs GM also admitted he didnt thinkthat was going to happen, given that the player andhis agentneed to sign off on such a move.What does Seguin think?Hes clearly aggravated that he wont be playing asanyhockey player worth their saltshould be but said he would use all of the conditioning stint talk and healthy scratches as motivation to play harder, regain that edge and continue fighting through a little bit of a rookie wall that's risen in the last 3-4 weeks.Seguins ice time has dropped under 10 minutes for each ofhis last four games, and its clear the Bruins are trying to create a competitive situation between Seguin and Hamill while stirring a little spark into Seguins game. The pressure levels and importance of games has elevated tremendouslysince the All-Star break, and it appears Seguin has hit a little bit ofarutwhile attempting to match the intensity.The conditioning part to the AHLisnt going to work out because of my age. Im just trying to focus on improving my game right now, said Seguin. Whether its sitting in the stands or whatever I have to do, Im going to do it.I had four shots and a goal against Dallas, but I definitely want to elevate my game. I think that I need to. Its all about consistency now heading toward the playoffs. I think I still have it in me and thats still the plan for me. Whether its five minutes or ten minutes a night I need to take advantage of it all. Even if Im sitting on the bench for a while I need to find a way to get my legs going, and thats just something Im not used to . . . but something Ive got to change. Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice for the Bruins and looks like hell be getting the start. Carey Price will be the starting goaltender for the Habs. Thomas leads the league in nearly every statistical goalie category while Price was also an All-Star while putting up a .922 save percentage and 2.32 goals against average this season. Thomas is 10-2-3 in his last 15 games while Price is coming off a 4-1 loss to the suddenly hot New Jersey Devils. Julien appeared to have his game face on Wednesday morning when he was asked about David Krejci and why the playmaking center has the ability to rise to the occasion in big moments."You should ask him that question," snapped Julien at CSN's Mike Giardi, who posed the question. "I wish he'd elevate his game like that all the time."

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.