By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON Tyler Seguin appeared to be turning a corner in the last few weeks after getting scratched for a couple of important games against the Canadiens and the Red Wings.
The 19-year-old battled in the corners, competed for possession of the puck, blocked shots in front of the net and was getting his nose as dirty as possible with the intensity getting raised around him. Its obvious Seguin was attempting to show the coaches what theyll get out of him in effort and desire should they dress him for the playoffs in a fourth line role.
Well, it looks like Seguins best as a 19-year-old straining to do whatever he can isnt good enough for the Bruins coaching staff. He was a healthy scratch against the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night in a pivotal Eastern Conference matchup for second place in the standings, and afterward Claude Julien shed some light on the scratch.
It wasnt designed to give Seguin a breather, nor was it due to a sore right ankle Seguin suffered after blocking a shot against the Edmonton Oilers. It was because Julien wants his fourth line to be the bunch of plumbers theyre supposed to be.
I think its a matter of just not so much a night off, but we also want to get Dan Paille in the lineup, said Julien. Its one of those situations where I wanted a fourth line tonight thats going to give us that identity. Thats the way it is and thats the way its going to be, part of the decision making.
Perhaps its more of an audition-type situation where Julien is making some playoff roster lineup decisions while watching regular-season games, and its getting down to crunch time for those types of impressions with only 18 of them remaining.
This is where hockey coaches make their decisions about playoff lineups and the readiness of players, and its up to Seguin to find a way to get back into the lineup amid a speedy, defensively-sound option in Daniel Paille.
Mark Recchi passed another milestone on Thursday night when he moved into a tie with Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens for sixth all-time in the NHL with his 1,635th game of his career.
CSNNE.com got an update on Marc Savard from Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli before Thursdays game, and its more of the same. Savard has his good days and bad days while battling through concussion symptoms, and plans to return to Boston for more testing and evaluation before the end of the regular season. Chiarelli stressed there was no urgency and it was more about when Savard felt up to it.
Steve Kampfer had his bell rung after a hit from Mattias Ritola in the second period, and didnt return for the third period after 9:36 of ice time. Its unknown whether Kampfer has suffered a concussion, but its expected Matt Bartkowski would be the first Bs player called up from Providence if both Kampfer and Andrew Ference are unable to play Saturday against the Penguins. Ference isnt expected to be close to game-ready by this weekend.
Tim Thomas has allowed five goals in his last five games, and once again looks like hes in the middle of the hot streak against some of the best teams in the NHL.