Notes: Seguin not happy at potential scratch


Notes: Seguin not happy at potential scratch

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON -- Claude Julien is a conservative coach in many regards, and it certainly manifests itself when it comes to young players and playoff lineups.

Phil Kessel, then in his second year but coming off a 19-goal season, was benched for the first four games of the Bruins' opening-round playoff series against top-seeded Montreal in 2007-08. Julien reinstated Kessel for the final three games, and he responded with three goals and an assist, but the move permanently poisoned the relationship between player and coach and was one of the big reasons Kessel wanted out when he became a free agent.

Tyler Seguin isn't Phil Kessel. He's outgoing, diligent and conscientious with his teammates in ways that the introverted Maple Leafs sniper never was. But it looks as if he's going to get the Kessel treatment when the Bruins open the playoffs . . . and he's not happy about it.

Seguin was a healthy scratch Wednesday night against the Islanders and, if comments made by general manager Peter Chiarelli on 98.5 The Sports Hub Wednesday morning are any indication, that may happen in the postseason, as well. Chiarelli said Seguin sitting during the playoffs is the way it looks to be trending, but the competition isnt over yet.

Seguin was one of five players -- Michael Ryder, Patrice Bergeron, Shawn Thornton and Chris Kelly were the others -- who participated in an optional skate Wednesday morning and, in brief comments to reporters afterwards, said he wanted to play.

Im sure Ill talk to coaches about it and theyll tell me why if Im scratched, said Seguin. Of course I want to be in there playing.

Seguin has only one goal in his last 16 games. But its undeniable he's played better, faster and stronger down the stretch, and tasting the playoffs is something beneficial to his development.

The problems: Ryder has 9 goals and 18 points in 24 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, and Daniel Paille is playing his best hockey of the season over the last two weeks. Both of those players could potentially serve in a fourth-line capacity.Julien spoke after the win about the tough decisions facing the coaching staff when it comes to playing time and choosing a roster headed into the postseason, and simple fact there are no easy choices. Ideally rest would be a good thing for players like Zdeno Chara and Mark Recchi, but he wasn't sure if it was coming or not."Those are tough questions to answer right now as Im sitting here because we dont know whats going on with the rest of the schedule and other teams that are playing: the opportunity to move up and maybe not," said Julien. "Its a balance of making sure that you try and get your team ready for the playoffs and some of it might mean that players have to play and we cant sit 10 guys out. "Weve only got a couple extra Ds and weve got an extra forward here, so you know, its pick and choose. As I said this morning, you pull a guy out and all of a sudden, another guy gets hurt and youre going to be told, Why didnt you pull him out? I didnt know he was going to get hurt versus the other guy. So these are things that you deal with. At the same time, players want to play. They really do. I think there might be a possibility in the last game or if something happens in the next couple of days, well look at the standings and make that decision at that time." Steve Kampfer was sent down to the Providence Bruins on Wednesday night following the win over the Islanders at TD Garden. The 22-year-old defenseman, however, will still take part in the Cuts for a Cause charity sponsored in part by 98.5 The Sports Hubs Toucher and Rich Show.
There was some good-natured chatter on thebench after Shawn Thornton picked up his career-best 10th goal of the season in the first period after missing three games with a 40-stitch slice on his forehead. Claude Julien poked fun at Thornton's defenseman capabilities while also praising the B's enforcer for his offensive accomplishments this year. "I think everybody is happy for him, anytime you hit double digits," said Julien. "His comment to me was, hopefully I can get an assist tonight, so I can be ten and ten, instead of ten and nine. Because hes looking a little selfish with more goals than assists."
Prior to Wednesday nights game against the Islanders, the Bruins handed out their annual awards.

-- The Eddie Shore Award, presented by the Gallery Gods for "exceptional hustle and determination", went to Thornton, who set career highs in goals (10) and assists (9) this season.
"I'm very honored and humbled by the award even though I feel like maybe this could have gone to my centerman as well," said Thornton referring to Gregory Campbell. "The guy the award was named after wasn't too bad of a player at all, was he?"
-- The Elizabeth Dufresne Trophy, for his outstanding performance during home games as chosen by the Boston Chapter of the PWHA, went to goalie Tim Thomas.

-- The Bruins Three Stars Awards, chosen by 98.5 The Sports Hub, were presented to the three players who have contributed the most to the teams success this season during home games. The Number One Star was Thomas, the Number Two Star was Patrice Bergeron, and the Number Three Star was Milan Lucic.

In addition to the awards, the Boston Bruins Foundation and the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) will make a 20,000 donation that will be divided among two local charitable organizations: One Mission and WriteBoston.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Wednesday, Jan. 18: Landeskog wants to stay in Colorado

Wednesday, Jan. 18: Landeskog wants to stay in Colorado

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while thoroughly enjoying Nick Offerman co-hosting on the Today Show this morning.

*Gabriel Landeskog knows his name has been mentioned in trade rumors with teams like the Bruins, but he wants to stay with the Colorado Avalanche.

*The New York Rangers are facing a goalie crisis for the first time in 11 years as Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to show signs of hockey mortality.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the New York Islanders seeking to speak with fired Florida coach Gerard Gallant about their new opening after firing Jack Capuano.

*Ondrej Pavelec has been brought back from the AHL to Winnipeg to rescue the Jets from their goaltending situation, and he wants to stay for as long as he can.

*Rene Bourque has reached the 700 game mark in his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche, and he hopes to keep it going.

*Young star Jack Eichel’s hunger for greatness could certainly lend itself to a leadership role with the Buffalo Sabres

*For something completely different: Hollywood is thinking of rebooting “White Men Can’t Jump” and this is simply the worst idea ever. I’d rather watch a movie with Woody and Snipes 25 years later than a lame reboot.



Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish to trade Brandon Carlo

Haggerty: Bruins would be foolish to trade Brandon Carlo

There’s been smoke for weeks signaling trade talks between the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, and things are reportedly heating up with the Bruins potentially reaching a tipping point with their subpar play on the ice. According to Bleacher Report columnist Adrian Dater, things may be progressing between the two teams because the Bruins are beginning to entertain the idea of trading away 20-year-old top pairing rookie defenseman Brandon Carlo.

Bruins Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson Jr. was expected to be out in Colorado scouting the Avalanche/Blackhawks game on Tuesday night, and perhaps getting a long look at players like Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie among others.

The expectation is that 24-year-old Landeskog is in the middle of these trade discussions, and that he would be one of the players targeted by a Bruins team that could use more size on the wing, and more players that can put the puck in the net. Certainly Landeskog has done that in his brief NHL career after being a No. 2 overall pick, and has four 20-goal seasons on his resume prior to a disappointing, injury-plagued current season in Colorado.

The word around the league was that talks fizzled between the Bruins and Avs previously when Joe Sakic asked about the availability of the Colorado Springs native Carlo, and those discussions hit the same crunching roadblock that Winnipeg did in discussions with Boston about Jacob Trouba.

Perhaps that has changed in the last 24 hours after Cam Neely and Don Sweeney watched their Bruins completely no-show against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the New York Islanders, on Monday afternoon. Now one would expect that Bruins management is getting desperate feeling that a third “Did Not Qualify” for the Stanley Cup playoffs could be in their future if they don’t make a bold, swift move to shake up their dazed hockey club.

But let’s not pull any punches here. The entire Bruins management group should be fired on the spot if they trade a 20-year-old, top pairing shutdown defenseman on an entry level contract like Carlo unless they are getting a bona fide superstar in return. Carlo, Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak should all be young, untouchable assets for a Bruins organization that is years away from legitimately holding a chance at a Stanley Cup.

Landeskog is not a bona fide superstar. He’s a good player that’s topped out at 26 goals and 65 points in the NHL, but he’s also the Captain on a horrendous, underachieving Avalanche team over the last three years.

If the price were right for Landeskog it would make all the sense in the world for the Bruins to deal him, but it’s a giant honking red flag that Colorado is looking to unload a player like him that’s signed for a reasonable $5.5 million price tag over the next four seasons. Teams don’t trade young players like that with term unless there’s more to the story, and that’s something the Bruins would do well to consider before giving up a player that could be a top-4 shutdown defenseman in Boston for the next 10 years.

Teams like the Bruins that are in reloading mode also shouldn’t be trading 20-year-old players for 24-year-old players that have already cashed in on their second contract. That’s exactly how the Bruins can get right back into salary cap trouble, and do it with a team that’s producing far less than the Peter Chiarelli groups that were at least still making the playoffs.  

Certainly the Bruins have other young D-men like Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon coming down the pipeline, but none of those defensemen are in the mold of a true shutdown D like the 6-foot-5 Carlo. With Zdeno Chara in the final few years of his career with the Black and Gold, the B’s are going to need Carlo to slide into that defensive stopper role given his size, strength, wing span and willingness to do the dirty work the D-zone.

That goes beyond the simple fact that rebuilding the back end with ALL of those young stud D-men is the best way to actually build the Bruins back up into a legitimate Eastern Conference power. 

It would be a giant mistake for the Bruins to ship away a player like Carlo with the hope Landeskog can put Boston over the hump for the playoffs this season, and perhaps ease some of the intense pressure currently weighing on Sweeney and Neely. That kind of desperate move smacks of doing it for all of the wrong reasons, and that’s one way to ensure that the Bruins will never escape the web of mediocrity that they’re currently caught in.