Seguin finds a chemistry partner in Ryder

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Seguin finds a chemistry partner in Ryder

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA In Game 2, Claude Julien just might have found a permanenthome for 19-year-old Tyler Seguin when it comes to the playoffs. Julien placed the heraldedrookie with Michael Ryder and Chris Kelly, and the three showed chemistry together almostimmediately, tallying four goals in Boston's 6-5 win.

What makes Seguin's stable new home even better for the Bruins, though, is thatit should only help the youngsters confidence after he endureda season of musical chairs and uncertaintywith his linemates.

Seguin skated on the right side with Ryder workingoff the left wing and with the underrated Kelly at center. The trio jolted the Bruins' offense to life and helped the B's even the series with the Lightning, 1-1 after a strong effort that again showed off the B's forward depth.

We put it behind us . . . and its off to bigger and better things, said Seguin. Im trying to bring the compete level and battle level to my game, and it seems to be working out.

The Ryder-Seguin connection has seen plenty of action throughout the season, if not on the scoreboard. Sometimes they looked great. Other times, they were average at best -- and certainly disappeared as Ryder cooled off and Seguin learned the ropes.

But Ryder showed exactly what he can do while riding shotgun and playing against the vaunted Lightning, just as he did during Bostons barnstorming trip through Ireland and the Czech Republic to start the season. He also now has 13 goals and 27 playoff points in 37 career postseason games with the Bruins -- a number that carries plenty of weight after the wingeroft-times waltzing through the regular season. "You look back at some of the stats in the playoffs and what Ryderhas done in the past and even last year, was a real tough year for him," said Julien. "But in the playoffs he was a decent player and Michael Ryder has been really reliable in the playoffs for us ever since Ive known him. There is no doubt he seems to be one of those players that plays his best when the playoffs come around."

On that European trip to start the season, he helped Seguin score his first career NHL goal with his vision and his overlooked passing ability.

In a pass similar to the one that allowed Seguin to break free against the Coyotes in Prague, Ryder authored a near carbon copy at the neutral zone in the second period of Game 2 and Seguin did the rest. He beat Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson with a schoolyard backhander that was exactly the opposite of the forehand hed utilized two nights before in Game 1.

That synergy between Ryder and Seguin lasted all night as Seguin showed the willingness to take a hit in order to make a play. He risked both life and limb in a way that he wouldnt have earlier in the season.

He made one no-look backhand pass while up against the boards that eventually opened up a scoring chance for Ryder, which Ryder finished.

Ive seen it," Julie said of Seguin's development. "There are times where maybe Seguin would have heard footsteps on that playand would have got rid of it instead, but thats what confidence is, thats what growing is. And thats the part that sometimes can be tough for people on the outside to see. They see the potential, but its our job to work with this guy and help him grow properly.

"And I think right now what were seeing, were not disappointed. There is no doubt we like what we see. And like I said, the timing couldnt be better.

For his part, Ryder has voiced a comfort level with whatever charges might be coming his way, and the line of SeguinKellyRyder is primed to have a very good run. It's due in large part to the play of Seguin as well as the oft-maligned Ryder, who has a knack for stepping up in big games. He's come a long way from a guy with humble beginnings in practice. "First time I met him he came out of Newfoundland and where he lived andhe hardly practiced, he just played games with his team. So he was really really raw," said Julien. "But when he came to our junior team at the time, the Hull Olympiques, I could tell right from training camp he had a lot of raw talent."Hes one of those guys, just like Tyler Seguin, that had to grow through this in his first year, not used to practicing or being on the ice everyday, and thats where he earned the nickname, Easy Ryder, because there were some days where he would have preferred being off the ice."One thing is for sure: Ryder paired with Seguin during this year's B's playoff run is a long way from his "Easy Ryder" days.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With injury in his past, Malcolm Subban is looking toward future

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With injury in his past, Malcolm Subban is looking toward future

BOSTON – It’s not really ever a banner day for any red-blooded, red-light hating goalie when he surrenders four goals in a game.

But perhaps that bottom line is softened a little bit considering when it’s also the first game of the preseason. It may also be drastically mitigated by the fact, in this case, that it was the first time Malcolm Subban guarded the space between the pipes since taking a puck to the throat that fractured his larynx last February.

That traumatic injury left Subban unable to speak for days and gasping for air while being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

It was a tiny victory simply for the Bruins goalie prospect to be back on the ice at all and a much bigger one once Subban had made 31 saves while largely under siege in a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old admitted a little rush in net while the Red Wings were buzzing all around him for 35 shots on net through his two periods of work, but there was also happiness at simply being to back and building up for another season in the Bruins organization.

“It was great to finally get back out. Obviously, [I was] really rusty. To be honest, I felt – not so much the goals even, but just shots in general, especially in the first, obviously nerves had a little bit to do with it,” said Subban, who was 14-8-5 with a .911 save percentage and 2.46 goals-against average last season in Providence. “But it was the first time in a long time I could say that I felt not up to speed. I feel like usually I’m overplaying stuff, too fast. But, I felt today like practice is a lot different than a game.

“In the first, I thought I was a little behind the play. That starts to open up holes like my post coverage and stuff. A little rusty there, especially on the third goal, I’ve got to clean that stuff up. Other than that, I thought I played pretty well in terms of straight shots. We practice all that stuff. I’ve just got to keep working on that end. Hopefully, I can move forward and build on that. I think it’s a great game to build off, for sure, for myself and the team.”

The goals allowed showed some on defense, but also some of the rust in their goalie: Subban lost sight of the puck behind the net on the second goal and Steve Ott was able to fire a quick shot past him on the short side before he could recover his bearings. 

The third goal was also a post coverage issue with Luke Glendening scoring on a late-reacting Subban, which is usually one of his real strengths. So, there is work to be done, but Subban also shut down a number of breakaways in the second period behind a leaky defense and stopped over 30 pucks before he gave way to young goalie Dan Vladar.

That’s considered more than an honest night’s work in the first preseason appearance for any goaltender, and surely for one playing his first game in seven months.  

“I think it was [a good outing for Subban]. He faced some quality scoring chances out there, and the ones that went in probably he’d like to have back, you know,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “But overall, I think when you look at his overall performance for the two periods he played pretty solid for us. He made some big saves, some timely saves and moved well in there. I think for Malcolm, you know, despite the score, I think he had a good night.”

Perhaps most encouraging: the middle Subban brother made a key save at the end of the first period with a puck off his helmet after Detroit had scored twice in a span of 19 seconds.

The stop with Subban’s head gear was probably the best sign of the night that he’s over last year’s traumatic injury and there isn’t going to be any shell-shocked goaltender situation with him.

So, did the injury cross his mind even once during his 40 minutes of work?

“To be honest, no. I owe a lot of credit to my players and these guys on the team in practice and stuff. I really haven’t had to worry about [taking another puck to the throat], getting hit,” said Subban, who now wears a neck guard after eschewing that particular piece of equipment prior to the injury. You’ve got some pretty good shooters in here; pretty accurate shooters. But, yeah, to be honest, I never really thought of [the fractured larynx], it never came across my mind.”

One thing that’s definitely been on Subban’s mind in camp is his contract situation and knowing full well he’s in the last season of his entry-level deal with the Bruins as a former first-round pick. He now has both Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask in front of him in the NHL and he’s looking at a fourth straight season in the AHL with the P-Bruins.

It might have been a different story for the talented goalie prospect if he’d finished last season in the same hot streak he was enjoying at the time of his injury. Perhaps he’d be the guy prepping to be Rask’s understudy this season. Instead, the ill-timed larynx injury pushed the Bruins to opt for an established backup in Khudobin and sign him to a two-year deal that could conceivably lock Subban in Providence for a couple more seasons.

So, now Subban is playing for his future, whether it’s with the Bruins, or with another team looking for a young No. 1 goaltending prospect just now entering his prime after refining his technique and going through some character-building adversity.

“I had a hard summer of workouts and skating, so I feel good. I’m not going to hold myself short. I understand that this is my contract year and the last year of my contract, so I’ve got to have a good year regardless of where I am. I’ve just got to play awesome,” said Subban. “Obviously you want to sign again, and you want to be a part of the organization. You want to be a huge part of it and a valued asset.

“So, what I’m looking forward to proving right now is that the last three years helped me, and that I’ve improved since my first year, and that I want to be here [in Boston].”

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with Subban within the B’s organization over the next season.

The Bruins regime that initially drafted him 24th overall back in 2012 is now gone. Subban still has value to an NHL team, particularly a Canadian one, scouring the market for a blue-chip goalie prospect. The organization is also going to be forced to expose a quality goaltender or two in the Las Vegas franchise expansion draft after this season. That could mean a new work address, or a new spot opened up within the B’s goalie depth chart, for Subban.

All of these could be possibilities for Subban, but it all starts with him pouring everything he’s learned over the past three years and dominating the AHL before he pushes for his first extended look at the highest level of hockey.