Seguin ready to take on more

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Seguin ready to take on more

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Tyler Seguin knows every night wont be like his first in the playoffs.

The 19-year-old was on the ice for two of Tampa Bays goals early in the Game 1 loss against the Lightning, and that certainly need to be mentioned.

But Seguin also set Bruins Nation on fire with his speed, natural scoring instincts and lethal shot, all of which are missing ingredients on a team without a lot of high-end offensive talent when Patrice Bergeron is missing. Seguin may be an unfinished product after one year in the NHL, but he still holds the elite skill set that his more accomplished, experienced teammates will never quite have.

Coach Claude Julien said he shied away from using Seguin too much in Game 1 and kept him off the woeful power play because the Bruins wanted to give him the heady playoff experiences in little chunks. It almost sounded like a mama bird feeding a baby bird so it doesn't choke.

But after recording two points, and a couple of solid physical plays followingsome early game jitters, it looks like Seguin is ready for bigger pieces of icethan the two shifts and 1:51 of ice time he landed in the second period.

Despite the long rests between shifts in the middle 20 minutes, Seguin said he was keeping mentally focused on the game and staying positive no matter what was happening around him in a pressure-packed game.

I found myself a lot of time during the season getting more frustrated then I should have been, said Seguin. With being out of the lineup for the past month, you realize a bit more how grateful you should be just to be in the lineup with the boys, sharing that experience and being part of the team. So even though I was sitting there for a bit, I was still staying ready. I wasnt getting angry and negative. I was trying to stay as positive as I can.

Theres no telling what will happen with Seguin when Bergeron jumps back into the lineup, but hes making his case to stay right where he is.

Julien made the parallel between Seguin and Flyers rookie James van Riemsdyk, who dazzled the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs. But van Riemsdyk sat at times during his rookie season, though he played a pretty complete 21 games during last years run to the Stanley Cup finals. It's not perfect, but it gives a view as to how the Bruins view Seguin's development path through his first season.

Seguin took part in some of the power-play drills before main practice on Monday, but he wasnt onone of the two power-play units that took the reps once things got moving.

Weve got different looks, weve got different players, said Julien. We want to make the power play work. Its never a bad thing to have those guys go through it. If at one point you need him, you need him. I said yesterday exactly what we wanted to do with Tyler. He hadnt played a playoff game yet, and you give him a little bit to chew, and then you give him maybe opportunities if need be in other areas.

But hes a young player that we care about and want to make sure that we develop him properly. Thats part of the decision weve made as an organization is not to rush him through anything . . .

"We understand the quality of player weve got, what he can bring and what hes going to bring in the future. Those are part of the things we keep doing with him and weve done with him all year: make him participate in all those areas where hes going to be hopefully a big factor for us in the future.

While Seguin certainly wasnt a go-to guy on a nightly basis while feeling his way through his first NHL season (11 goals, 11 assists, along with flashes of brilliance), its a bit of adifferent story in the playoffs.

The Stanley Cupplayoff are all about matchups and pairing strengths against weaknesses on the opposition, and Seguins blend of speed, skill and scoring melds in with the style of play against the speedy, skilled Lightning. Where Seguin might have been little more than wallpaper against the rugged, snarling Flyers, he fits right in against a Tampa team that features plenty of star power in Vinny Lecavalier, Steve Stamkos, Simon Gagne and Marty St. Louis, among others.

It was definitely a fast game I noticed from the first shift, just my first playoff shift, said Seguin. The speed and intensity was a lot greater than what I remember of the end of the season. I just tried to put that on my game, I try to use my speed, and it worked out in some plays.

In fact, its Stamkos that Seguin is most often compared to when his development is brought into focus over the course of his first season. Stamkos also started slowly as a rookie, but it didn't take long before he found his stride and finished strong in his rookie campaign. The 50 goal seasons followed shortlyafterward for Stamkos, and the Bruins can only hope Seguin gets on the same track.

Its flattering to hear the comparisons, said Stamkos. Sometimes they are unfair, but thats what the media does. You see his speed and you see his creativity, and his smarts and shot. If you come into this league and you have the great wheels like he does and the great shot, youre going to be successful.

He got an opportunity in Game 1 and he took advantage of it. Hes going to a great player in this league for a long time. I didnt play against him in the OHL, but I had some friends that did and said he was an unbelievable player. When you take a step back and realize that he was playing in the NHL at 18 years old . . . when you look at it that way, its remarkable. Sometimes you get caught up in putting so much expectations because you have the ability and the media puts a lot of pressure on as well . . . you can get caught up in that. I know what hes going through. But hes got so much skill that its only a matter of time before gets that full-time opportunity and thats all you can ask for as a young guy.

Seguin should once again get that opportunity to show more of that skill when the Bruins drop the puck for Game 2 at the Garden, and the rookie can only hope its a worthy encore performance.

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

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

Vatrano takes 'step in the right direction' in return to practice

BRIGHTON, Mass -- The Bruins lost Matt Beleskey for six weeks to a knee injury this week, and now they’re hoping to get another winger back now that 22-year-old Frank Vatrano has rejoined the Bruins at practice.

Vatrano was wearing a red no-contact jersey at Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena, but his presence along with the other players at the team skate means that he’s moving closer toward a return to the B’s lineup. While initial timetables for his recovery from foot surgery had him in the early January range for returning to the Bruins lineup, it appears that he might be at least a couple of weeks ahead of that initial expectation.

Either way Vatrano is happy to be back on the ice with his teammates after the torn ligaments in his foot wiped out his training camp and the first two plus months of the regular season for him.

“It was a big step for me today. It was nice to be out there with the guys for the first time,” said Vatrano, who scored a combined 44 goals last season for Providence and Boston in a breakout season with the B’s organization. “I’ve gone through the rehab and done everything I need to do to get back playing, so now the next step is getting back on the ice with the guys. I felt great, so now it’s just waiting to hear the news when I start playing again.”

While Vatrano is still a young, relatively inexperienced player with just one full year of pro hockey under his belt, the sense from the Bruins is that he’s going to help a team that’s currently ranked 25th in the NHL in offense. Claude Julien was encouraged by seeing him out there in the red, no-contact jersey that his teammates were chirping him about, and said that his level play at last spring’s world championships should give him confidence when he jumps back into a big role with the Black and Gold.

“It’s a step in the right direction for Frank. That’s the best way for him to get to the pace of our game because it’s going to take a while when you’ve been out that long,” said Vatrano. “I think his experience at world championships last year is a real blessing in disguise because he gained a lot of confidence there. I think that’s going to help him a lot more than had he not gone.

“He played against a lot of elite players last year, and he fared really well. I think he’ll be coming in now with some confidence, and we just have to sure coming in that we give him every opportunity to succeed by using him properly, and giving him a chance to find his game.”

That certainly sounds like the Bruins are preparing for a top-6 role and maybe some power play time once the young, sharp-shooting Vatrano is back up to full speed. That should be fun to watch once he’s ready to play, and ready to again unleash that shot and release that rivals anybody else for tops on the Bruins roster. 

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place.