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: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

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Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

The improvement plan has become as clear as it’s going to be for the Bruins this offseason.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney locking up Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million deal this week and vowing to sign Torey Krug as well, the Bruins defensemen corps is going to look awfully similar to last season’s misbegotten group.

Almost identical, it would seem.

Sure, Sweeney said on Wednesday that the Bruins are actively seeking out “a transitional defenseman” that’s presumably a little better than 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles, and can be paired with Zdeno Chara as a top duo for next season. It’s the No. 1 priority on the Bruins offseason shopping list just as it was last season once they shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for draft picks and were instead saddled with a fearsome, crippling black hole at the top of their organizational D-man charts.

The trade market has been set to a degree by the Erik Gudbranson trade from the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night with Jim Benning giving up a Grade-A center prospect in Jared McCann, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the 24-year-old top-four defenseman. Per a hockey source with knowledge of the situation, the Bruins were not involved in any talks for the towering Gudbranso. It sounded like the Panthers and Canucks were pretty locked in with each other on making a deal.

That’s an unfortunate product of Boston not being able to match up with the available center prospect that might have interested Florida and having dealt some of those 2016 draft picks on fruitless deadline rental deals for Lee Stempniak and Liles.

So, how difficult will it be to land Kevin Shattenkirk, or Jacob Trouba, or Sami Vatanen, or Tyson Barrie, or any other mobile blueliner able to play big minutes, move pucks and survive against the other team’s best offensive players while being sheltered defensively by Zdeno Chara?

“Time will tell on that one, you know? Either through free agency or through acquisition, it’s a matter of finding a trading partner or finding a match in the marketplace. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Sweeney. “We certainly have identified, we had our pro meetings … I’m not going to give my whole plan out to you today. But we have areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center, or again on the backend. We’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in the position with two first-round picks to be either selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

The Bruins had better hope it’s a miracle-working puck-mover that they bring to Boston because otherwise they are on course for bringing back the same old sorry usual suspects from last season. Miller and Adam McQuaid will be taking up a combined $5.25 million on the salary cap, Krug will have a salary in the range of $5 million per season after watching the B’s largesse in the Miller deal and both Chara and Seidenberg will trudge on as proud, aging warriors well on the back end of their careers after outstanding service in Boston.

That means many defenders, including Joe Morrow and Colin Miller, return. Defense was the clear weakness on the team, which finished 19th in the NHL after being in the bottom third of the league pretty much all season. It was inarguably the worst defensive group of Claude Julien’s 10-year tenure with the Bruins and had major difficulties in all areas ranging from tape-to-tape passes, to coverage breakdowns and good, old-fashioned lost battles in all of the danger areas.

So, with the plan to add one high-caliber “transitional defenseman” already laid out, it’s clear the B’s belief is that will be enough to substantially improve things on the ice.

At least that’s the theory before the bullets start flying next season and Sweeney gave a few perfunctory lines about the team improving in every area.  

“This is a results-oriented business, so we have to get better in areas. We have to improve our roster. I’ve said all along that we need to continue to improve our roster. We’ll be in the marketplace in every different way, shape, or form to try and acquire players that will continue to help us do so,” said Sweeney. “Talking with Claude and going over the time he spent with Butch [Cassidy], through my dealings with Butch, and realizing the development of a lot of the players that have been a part of our roster and success is the transition game and stuff that Butch has brought to the table.

“[It’s] how he saw the game, how he expects players to play and move pucks and work on it every day, is an area that I think he’s going to be an addition to our [coaching] staff and how he sees the game. I think I identified that if Butch was playing in this day and age now, he’d be a very welcome addition to our roster.”

So that’s the plan, folks. The big move of the summer is getting a defenseman they badly need, filling in a few roster spots, signing a good deal of their own players and then hoping for a better result next time around.

Isn’t there some kind of line about insanity and expecting different results with the same cast of characters year in and year out? 

 

Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

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Thursday, May 26: Will going with Fleury haunt Penguins?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while still laughing at the #TeamFrich movement.

*Dave Lozo says that the decision by Mike Sullivan to play Marc-Andre Fleury could still come back to haunt the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Miracle on Ice goaltender Jim Craig marvels at the evolution of USA Hockey from the Miracle days to the current system that just keeps on producing top talent.

*Mike from Woburn hates the Kevan Miller contract almost as much as I do.

*Speaking of the Kevin Miller deal, here’s a scenario where the big overpay for Miller might help them land another talented young player.

*In other hockey news, the Vancouver Canucks landed legitimate top-4 defenseman Erik Gudbranson while the ink was drying on the Kevan Miller contract.

*Chris Phillips is expected to announce his retirement from the Ottawa Senators after a long career in Ottawa as a defensive warrior.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough says some tough decisions await the St. Louis Blues after dropping the conference finals to the San Jose Sharks.

*The San Jose media has decreed that it was worth spending a first-round pick for Martin Jones after he helped carry them to the Cup Final. For the Bruins it means that their first round pick will be No. 29 or No. 30 in the first round, so whoop-de-do for that.

*For something completely different: 21 scientists say that Tom Brady is right and the NFL is wrong about Deflategate.