Notes: Seguin starting to 'get it'


Notes: Seguin starting to 'get it'

By JoeHaggerty

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 Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON -- Malcolm Subban still believes he can be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that sort of sheer, brazen self-confidence is admirable -- especially after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden Tuesday -- pretty much all the evidence points to the contrary. Given a shot because of injuries to Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin, nearly two years after getting pulled from his only other NHL appearance when he gave up three goals on six shots in St. Louis, Subban was taken out Tuesday night after allowing three goals on eight second-period shots.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone afterwards, a testament to his maturity and mental toughness.

“It sucks," said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one . . . but what can you do now, right?

"Obviously I want to be a No. 1 goaltender in the league. I was a [first-round draft choice] for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it . . . I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts, combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft have proven their worth and advanced to the elite level: Matt Murray. Frederik Anderson. Connor Hellebuyck. Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly Tuesday in his first chance to do so.

Hampered by a Bruins team not playing well in front of him, the first goal he allowed was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third was a softie low and to the glove side, a power-play strike authored by Ryan Suter. Instead of hanging in and giving his team a chance to win, Subban helped put the Bruins in a hole they couldn't escape.

While Claude Julien felt the poor performance "could be a combination" of goaltending and overall defensive lapses, he didn't let Subban off the hook.

“There are some goals -- I’m not going to lie -- there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had," said the coach.

But he also wasn't going to place the blame solely at Subban's feet.

"[I’m] not here to talk about a goaltender -- who’s in one of his first few games -- because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him . . .  and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough. Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide-open shots from the slot -- like the Chris Stewart score in the second period 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal -- are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player (Subban) who should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first-round pick in 2012. Anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after his two Bruins appearances. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first-round bust rather than a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer if Rask can’t make a rapid recovery from his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and, to be fair, the three goals allowed to Minnesota weren't all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that he should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie who'd been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, one who's never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.