BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin certainly received the message over the last week when he watched Daniel Paille elevate his game, and began hearing the Bruins coaches and executives singing the praises of Michael Ryders undeniable postseason track record.
Seguin played in the final two games of the regular season against the Senators and Devils, but is pretty much assured to begin his first NHL postseason as a healthy scratch. That was cinched on Monday afternoon when general manager Peter Chiarelli held a conference call and said he hopes theres significant growth both on and off the ice from the 19-year-old hockey prodigy between this season and next year.
Seguin finished the year with 11 goals and 11 assists and played some meaningful minutes both five-on-five and on the power play down the stretch this season.
But there are still lingering questions within the organization about his ability and willingness to truly battle in the muck-and-grind Stanley Cup playoffs at such a young age.
Seguin is on the right track, and the betting here is that hell get his shot. But it doesnt like that is going to take place on Thursday night.
Im relatively satisfied with Seguins development. You have to put it in the context of his age and put it in the context of that hes an individual who has seen that he has to grow in certain areas on and off the ice, said Chiarelli. Hes a real good kid. My guess is that he wont start in the lineup for the playoffs.
I hope he finds his way into it. The play is going to ramp up in the playoffs. Had he gone back to juniors, the areas where he had to get better would have been left dormant. So he had to play this year and face those areas head on. Hes a terrifically talented kid with speed. He has to learn to make these plays that he can do and weve seen these plays all the time. So Im relatively satisfied. Tyler is a good kid and hes going to get better.
Its obvious Seguin wants to participate in his first postseason, but is also mature enough to understand this was a potential outcome after getting drafted by a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. As has been clear to anybody who's come into contact with the Bs rookie, hes a much different player and person than Phil Kessel and there isnt going to be the same kind of collateral damage to his psyche as there was with Kessel after he was benched in his first playoffs.
Seguin isnt Kessel, and thats a very good thing.
Obviously I want to play every game and help the team out any way I can, said Seguin following the win versus the Ottawa Senators last weekend. I think thats been the bonus about this the whole time. Back on draft day, obviously I almost went No. 1 and went to the Oilers. But that team is out, and this club is making a Cup run.
So no matter what, I dont regret that decision. It wasnt really my decision, but I dont regret the path that Im on.
Coach Claude Julien has also noticed that the 19-year-old has responded very positively to adversity throughout the season a tribute to Seguins coachability and his ability to rise to the occasion when the moment strikes him. Nearly every time he was scratched or had a potential demotion back to junior hockey looming over his head, he responded with a statement game full of energy and offensive production.
Julien is hoping that happens if and when Seguin inserted into the Boston lineup on the run to Stanleys Cup. Theres also the sheer fact that there may come a time in the playoffs when Seguins offensive spark both his sniper shot and passing instincts will be needed to help spruce up a power play that hasnt been good all season.
Anybody who has watched him play knows Seguin needs to grow and thats going to come with experience and with time. Were willing to give him that, said Julien. But I think right now its about giving him that opportunity. There have been times hes had to sit back because we dont want him getting comfortable. By sitting him out every once in a while, he gets hungry.
Thats what you want a player to be. You want him to be hungry, you want him to know that its not a given that hes going to be I every night and that hes got to earn it. Thats part of growing as a young player.
Seguin is growing by leaps and bounds in his first NHL season, and the first playoff taste will be yet another classroom experience.
Chiarelli said arrangements have been made with the Montreal police to keep any investigation into the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty from becoming a potential distraction in a playoff series in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bs GM said the Montreal authorities have been very good and he didnt expect anything untoward to take place once the Bruins head up to Quebec on Sunday night for Games Three and Four on Monday and Thursday.
I expect there to be obviously a heightened sense of emotion from the media, from the fans, from just people walking around the city. I dont anticipate any security concerns, said Chiarelli. Youve seen how emotional it gets up there so I think there will be a bit of a frenzy. So were preparing for it and whatever happens, well deal with it.
There will be a group of 10 young Bs players working out in Providence while serving as Black Aces for the Bruins a group of skaters ready to fill in should a rash of injuries hit Boston as they maneuver through the Stanley Cup postseason. Chiarelli said goalie Anton Khudobin will be with the Bruins for the first series, and singled out only Zach Hamill as one of the young Bruins players remaining in Providence.
But its expected Matt Bartkowski, Andrew Bodnarchuk and Colby Cohen will all be remaining behind as defensemen depth with Steve Kampfer on the shelf after suffering a knee injury.
Chiarelli also said that Ryan Spooner, Ryan Button and Jared Knight wouldnt be eligible to be Black Aces after signing with the Bruins in the last week.