Seguin putting it all together in second year

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Seguin putting it all together in second year

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

MONTREAL The growth spurt for Tyler Seguin was expected to be expansive in Year No. 2 for the budding hockey prodigy.

Well, its been so far, so good in training camp for the Black and Golden Child and his Bruins.

Seguin followed up a multi-point performance and highlight-reel goal in Halifax by collecting a goal in his second straight game en route to snatching the games No. 1 star at the Bell Centre Monday night in a 2-1 victory. His teammates have certainly taken notice.

I knew he was going to come here and be excited to contribute this season, said Patrice Bergeron of Seguin. I remember my second year I felt that way. I knew I could play in the league and I learned a lot.

Hes a smart kid and he made sure he was going to be ready even though it was a short offseason. You could tell right away that his skating it was good before was even better and he has a bit more confidence to finish off some plays.

Hes done all this while bouncing between playing center for one set of teammates and right wing for David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the Bs No. 1 line Monday night and taking it all in stride.

Seguins only misstep during this entire camp was a subpar game in Ottawa when the entire squad seemed to suffer a bout of tired legs and camp fatigue simultaneously, but Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has token note of his bright prospects upward trend throughout camp. Seguin was sharp in drills among his veteran teammates in the opening few days

There were a couple of days where there might have been a little fatigue, but hes been very good throughout camp, said Chiarelli. Seguin has been one of our best players in camp this year.

Thats a long way from the raw young skater that made his debut in the very same Bell Centre last September as an unsure rookie going through everything for the first time. Seguin is a more confident, stronger version of himself going through the NHL dog and pony show for the second time, and the 19-year-old is the living, breathing, shooting and scoring embodiment of exactly how the Bruins can avoid a major Stanley Cup hangover this season.

I was going in blind last year, said Seguin. I looked at it as there would be things that I didnt know. It could get kind of annoying because you wanted to know everything, and you wanted to have results. But sometimes you have to go with it and keep learning and take a step back.

There were certain decisions made at first where I was like this sucks, but you learn, you adapt and you have to realize that youre not always going to jump into this league and be a top-line guy. Youve got to go slow, learn it and get some experience under your belt before you can do some things. But Im feeling a lot more comfortable and confident this season than last. It feels good when it finally pays off whether its on the score sheet or getting scoring chances.

The Bruins have been quick to point out that 17 members of last years Stanley Cup winning core are back this season for another crack, but the single biggest growth area on the team likely resides with Seguin.

If the teenager can develop into a 25-goal scorer with explosive skills and power play prowess this season, Seguin would take a great deal of pressure off the players that carried the heaviest playing load last year.

Hes looked like that more often than not, headed into training camp with an additional 10 pounds of muscle and a calmer approach to puck control, watching plays develop and distributing to others for offensive chances. Seguin set up Jordan Caron for multiple scoring chances in Halifax with cross-ice passes concocted with rare ice vision and a newfound sureness that his passes will hit their desired target rather than create a negative play.

The duo finally connected for a Caron score on a long stretch pass in the third period on Sunday night, and its unequivocally the kind of set up Seguin would have been hesitant about attempting as a rookie finding his way. It was a little risky and a little dangerous, but it was also more than a little effective at springing his line mate for a goal.

Horton was wheeling down the boards and had a couple of guys with him, and I kind of posted up just inside the blue line, said Seguin. I received the puck and I heard Caron yelling for it. I made kind of a dangerous pass where they -- if it didnt get through -- they could have gone. But lucky enough it got through and Caron took the one-timer without making a mistake.

Its that kind of unpredictable playmaking and willingness to execute offensive plays that will take Seguin to another level this season provided he gets the ice time and perhaps a few power play reps as well.

To those watching Seguin ascend in his second camp, its plainly and simply about believing in everything that hes doing out on the ice.

Tyler is playing with more confidence this year. He has a year under his belt and he knows what he has to do in this league, said Julien. Confidence and experience do a lot of things for players in this league, and you see it with Tyler.

He did that again tonight with precision dishes that gave Milan Lucic and Caron opportunities to rip shots at Carey Price, and a right place at the right time goal created by the rebound of a Matt Bartkowski shot from the outside of the right face-off circle.

So Seguin has scored two preseason goals in two days with one on a thrilling rush up the right wing while playing center, and a second on Monday night while scraping around the net and beating Habs defensemen to the free puck.

Seguin is by no means a finished product in his second NHL season before being legally able to drink alcohol or rent a car without hassles in the United States, but hes ready to be a difference-maker for a Bruins team fighting back a massive Cup hangover.

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

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.