Seguin starts to 'get it' as season winds down

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Seguin starts to 'get it' as season winds down

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON The Bruins are going through their worst stretch of the season, saddledwith road-weary legs after playing 12 of their last 16 games away from home.But through it all, Tyler Seguin is playing some of thebest hockey of his rookie season.

The grueling stretch has clearly had an effect on some of the older players like 43-year-oldMark Recchi (two points and a minus-2 in the last 10 games). But Seguin has been energized, witha goal and six shots on net in his last two games.

The 19-year-old has earned some power play time from coach Claude Julien in each of the last two games, and Seguin was easily Bostons best forward on the ice during the loss to Toronto Saturday night. He also impressively shook off a Patric Hornqvist elbow to the head in the first period against Nashville, and kept skating hard despite seven stitches to his left ear.

Its allbeen part of the natural progression for the Bs rookie.Seguin knows that good, consistent, competitive performances can mean helping his team and getting a better chance to crack the playoff lineup for Boston.He's way past Steve Stamkos comparisons and first-year point projections, and simply wants to add to the B's winning side of the ledger.

Its about finding what role youre going to have in this league and going after it, said Seguin. Im trying to get it whether its being involved in the play, or hitting and finishing checks just a little bit more. I think Im still just trying to find my way and do my best.

I know I still have a lot more in me. I have a ton to learn. Ive always been a statistical person and I know I can get a lot more points. But its been a slow process and Ive had some ups and downs. Its getting to crunch time in the season and I want to show everybody that Im ready to be here in the end. I want to win and want to have a championship, even if its in my first year. I want to be a part of that.

Seguin knows he wont be winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, or putting up gaudy first-yeartotals like Logan Couture or the now-injured Taylor Hall. But, conversely, there arent many lottery level draft picks witha legitimate chance at winning the Stanley Cup.
The understanding of team concept over individual accomplishments normally doesnt register with young players establishing themselves in the league. But Seguin has been an exception to the rule for many things, andhe understands what his team requires. There was actually a head-scratching column in the Edmonton Journallast month that took Seguin to task for putting team goals ahead of individual stuff like the Calder Trophy -- and seemed to have a problem with the youngster because he had his priorities in line.

It didnt happen overnight, of course -- there were long stretches with little progress early in the season -- but Julien gave Seguin a ringing endorsement recently that the rookie is really beginning to get things. And Seguin's mindset simply proves that his first-year progress has been a success, and continues to improve with each passing day.

Hes slowly getting better, said Julien. The things weve been working on with him are starting to pay off. Hes competing a little better, and when you compete a little better in certain areas then your skill level begins to take over.

The skill level we know is there, and its all about how he exposes it. I think he exposed it by competing in certain areas and making sure he has the puck on his stick. He has to play with the puck, and I think hes been a lot better with regard to that.

Some of Seguins transformation over the last month came on the heels of a pair of healthy scratches against the Canadiens and Red Wings in big Februarygames. The message from the coaching staff was received loud and clear by Seguin; he's stepped up his battle in every zone on the ice, and consequently becomestronger on and off the puck.

Nobody expectsSeguin to hammer players through the boards or turn into a Milan Lucic-style hitting machine, but that doesnt mean there arent players he can emulate while developing into a two-way center. The two registered hits against the Maple Leafs were eye-opening, consideringthathe understandably shied away from contact earlier this year.

Seguin is quick to say he aims to be his own player, but he's also smart enough to know that he can learn quite a bit from watching Patrice Bergeron go about his business.

Bergeron is the consummate two-way center in the defensive and offensive ends of the ice, and thats the kind of player Seguin aspires to be.

I think my whole life Ive always wanted to be a good all-around player and a good leader, and Bergie is definitely all of those things, said Seguin. Bergeron isa very focused guy, and all of the guys in the room respect him for that. I think in the end you have to have your own game, so I dont want to be Patrice Bergeron. But everything he does is goodfrom theD-zone to his skill, and the way hes positioned on the PK and the PP. You can throw him in any situation, and thats who I want to be in the future.

Obviously Im not 220 pounds, so when some of the bigger boys finish their checks then I might fall down. But I want to be more involved. I want to take anything I can get, and I want to win.

The first step to becoming a winning player is actually learning what it takes to win, and it seems that Seguin is getting it at the tail end of an eucational first season in the NHL.

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

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

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Heinen looking to be dark-horse candidate for Bruins' roster

While much of the focus is going to be on the young D-men headed into Bruins training camp, it would be foolhardy to overlook a forward prospect Danton Heinen, who is in position for a real dark horse run at an NHL roster spot. 

The strong odds are that the former University of Denver star is going to be begin the season in the AHL for the Providence Bruins after putting up a couple of points in four games there at the end of last season.

Still, that certainly hasn’t stopped Heinen from setting his sights on an NHL spot out of this fall’s camp, most likely in a third- or fourth-line capacity to start things off, or perhaps at the top-six right wing spots that have given the Bruins some problems filling permanently over the past couple of seasons.

Either way, the 2014 fourth-round pick knows that his clock to fulfilling his dreams as an NHL player has started and that it’s up to him when he can start making that a reality.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to work toward my whole life, so I’m just going to try to keep getting better, have a good rest of the summer and then put my best foot forward to see what happens,” said Heinen, who had an assist and a sweet goal in the Friday scrimmage at development camp when he twisted D-man Cam Clarke around like a pretzel on a nifty rush to the net. “I just need to continue to get stronger this summer, and working on my skating to get a bit quicker.

“[The AHL] was a lot of fun to get in there and see what it was all about. It was a lot different than college hockey, and it was definitely good to get a taste of it. [Bruins officials] told me to have a really big summer getting faster and getting stronger, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Heinen, 21, continued to show in development camp last week, however, that he has the playmaking skills and hockey IQ to flourish while surrounded by more accomplished players and in tighter situations. It’s exactly what he showed while posting 36 goals and 93 points in his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Pioneers and it was what he showed while finishing last week as one of the best forwards in camp.

“He’s looked really good at [development] camp. He’s a smart player, he’s committed and I think you’ll notice him in training camp. It will be up to him, but I think he’ll definitely be pushing some guys [for an NHL job],” said Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo, who was running the Bruins development camp. “He looked good [in Providence]. He fit in well. He’s the type of player that can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ, and he’s got really good skill.

“Anywhere you put him he’s smart enough to figure it out. You could tell in his first game there was a little bit of an adjustment for him, but the second time game it really looked like he’d been playing [at that level] for a long time. He’s a quick study, and he looked really good last year.”

The Black and Gold management hope he continues to look good at main NHL training camp in a couple of months, where he’ll undoubtedly be featured, and could be a lot closer than many people think as a polished skill forward coming out of a big-time college hockey program. 

Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

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Saturday, July 23: Hammer Time for VP pick Kaine with Caps

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while everybody is working for the weekend...or during the weekend.

*The vice-presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, made quite an impression while hanging out a Capitals game with MC Hammer. They call this guy boring, but that doesn’t sound very boring to me.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob Stauffer has the news that the Edmonton Oilers are parting ways with fancy stats lad Tyler Dellow. Boy, it seems like some teams are reversing course pretty quickly on some of these smarter-than-thou advanced statistics types, aren’t they? I certainly wish Dellow well and hope he finds another gig. But Instead of baselessly wondering whether the Oilers are going to continue down the fancy stats road (which they most certainly will), perhaps this is more a referendum on nonsensical stats-driven decisions like handing out that long term contract to a perpetually underachieving Benoit Pouliot.

*The New York Rangers have locked up Chris Kreider to a four-year contract at a reasonable number, and now he has the time with the Blueshirts to see how good he can be.

*Brian Leetch opens up to the Players Tribune about his NHL experiences playing with the New York Rangers, and all of his favorite experiences from a Hall of Fame career.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker says that Carey Price’s injury from last season is no longer a concern, according to Habs coach Michel Therrien.

*The Chicago Blackhawks will appear a whopping 21 times on national television across the NBC Networks next season.

*Incoming BU goaltender Jake Oettinger is among the names to look out for at the 2017 draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting bureau.

*Travis Yost says that the Carolina Hurricanes are on the rise thanks to winning the shot differential battle. I think it’s because they have an outstanding cast of young defensemen, who are helping them control the puck and win that shot differential battle. But they still need to score more if they’re going to really be a team on the rise, so we’ll see what happens there.

*For something completely different: for those that think I’m a Democrat because I am anti-Trump, here’s a story on the DNC machinery attempting to torpedo Bernie Sanders during the presidential campaigning over the last year.