Lesson learned for Seguin

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Lesson learned for Seguin

WINNIPEG So Tyler Seguin didnt set his alarm clock for the proper time on Tuesday morning. Or so he says.

But if you have a shred of common sense, you realize that if his alarm clock was set to Eastern Standard Time, it would have made him an hour early rather than an hour late. Did the 19-year-old simply blow off a team function yesterday morning? Where was Seguin's road roommate to wake him up? (Probably Jordan Caron, his roommate at home in their Charlestown digs, and oh by the way, the guy that cracked the Bs lineup once Seguin was scratched.)

But none of that is really important at the end of the day.

The Bruins arrived in Winnipeg in the early morning hours Tuesday after a statement dub over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they had every right to feel good about themselves after their 14th win in 15 games. Seguin had potted a power play goal and spoke after the contest after battling to keep his confidence up with two goals in his last 10 games after a torrid start to the season.

Maybe Seguin simply overslept as he and team officials contend, or maybe he did what most 19-year-olds would do in a Canadian city where the world can seem like a playground to a young hockey star.

The details dont really matter to manyaside from people with way too much time on their hands. What matters most is that the Bruins reacted with a harsh punishment fitting the crime, anddelivered a strong message that no individual player is bigger than the team.

"It's a mistake. Something you can only learn from and move on, Seguin admitted after watching his team go 0-for-3 on the power play and struggle to finish off offensive chances in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. I know it wasn't professional and that it has consequences.

Anytime you go up in the stands it's not something I'm happy with. I told myself after last year that I never wanted to be back up there and I was again tonight.

The punitive nature of the B'sactions was even more enlightening when all parties involved admitted afterward this wasnt the first Seguin had slept through a team meeting. Seguin admittedhe was also scratched last season for a similar infraction. The team covered upSeguin's absence last year, but there was no effort to hide the growing pains of a 19-year-old superstar this time around.

What matters most now is that Seguin learns from this experience and looks back on it as a valuable lesson. Nobody likes to get up for a morning meeting after a late night of travel (and perhaps a social beverage or two). But thats part and parcel with having a job and a seriouscareer, and that's something that all of us learn along the way. The NHL is full of teenaged superstars learning how to be pros withinthe highest level of scrutiny, and these kinds of hiccups happenalong the way are common.It doesn't make Seguin a problem child or an issue, but it does indicate the Bruins wanted to make a statement publically.

Whats different with Seguin is that it becomes the lead story on TSN with everybody making jokes ranging fromwhat kind of cereal the kid eats for breakfast to what kind of alarm clock he was using on the road. Its all funny and harmless, and it seemed that Seguin was properly embarrassment about the whole incident after the fact.His reaction next is what matters most. As long he responds accordingly this whole breakfast incident becomes a bad joke about Lucky Charms. If it happens again then there'sa serious issue with the team's budding superstarthat needs to be addressed.

Last season Seguin scored a goalin the game after rumors swirled about a potential return to his OHL Plymouth Whalers team and did it againwhen the Bs mulled the idea of sending the 18-year-old to the World Junior Tournament in December. He exploded for an electric four-point performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning after a bevy of healthy scratches during the playoffs to start his first NHL postseason experience.

Seguin has always responded to adversity with monster truck force. Its likely the Bruins expect him to explode offensively while using his embarrassment and anger as fuel.

Shawn Thornton pulled Seguin aside during Tuesday at lunchtime and had a chat with the 19-year-old about the entire situation. A respect leader in the B's clubhouse, Thornton hadfull confidenceSeguin wouldrespond when placed back in the lineup Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

I already talked to him pregame, said Thornton. Hes aware. Hes a smart kid. Hes only in his second year, but he gets it. Weve all been through it and weve all made those kinds of mistakes before.

In fact, some have been through it worse than others. In the minor leagues Thornton oncemissed a team flight from Kentucky to Newfoundland and then had to find his own way northin order to catch up to the team before theautomatic healthy scratch.

Thats not exactly an easy journey for a player that already knows hes in the doghouse.

The difference: Thornton learned his lessons in the minor leagues and got razzed by his teammates and coach.

Seguins tardiness became part of the national sports conversation in Canada Tuesday nightand proved once again that its not always easy growing up from hockey phenom into responsible adult when theres a national audience watching you. It's a difficult lesson to learn, but it's the growing pains that come along with shepherding an electric young hockey talent like Seguin in the big boy world of the NHL.

Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

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Giardi: Butler's offseason may cut deep, but it's time for him to battle back

This hasn’t been easy for Malcolm Butler. None of it. He’s never been given anything. Hell, at times he’s pissed his future away. But with a tenacity that reminds you of a certain 199th pick in the 2000 draft, Butler has fought his way back, into college, into the pros and, in 2015 and 2016, into the upper echelon of NFL cornerbacks. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champ, making arguably the most memorable play in the history of that game.

He should be drinking in the adulation, savoring an incredible start to his career and a very lucrative future. Instead, he’s in both professional and Patriots purgatory. Free agency beckons but there’s a season to play, and as this is the only professional team he’s known, a burning desire to be recognized as an important piece, not just in the present, but the future of this organization as well.
 
One of his closest friends on the team, Dion Lewis, calls Butler a warrior. “The game means so much to him.”

Another teammate, fellow defensive back Devin McCourty said of Butler, “This is what he does. He competes.”

Duron Harmon insists that the 27-year-old corner has been the same guy he’s always been. Actually, they all say that. But clearly, the coaching staff sees something different, leading to Butler’s demotion Sunday in New Orleans. 
 
Bill Belichick has been short when talking about Butler dating all the way back to the spring. That hasn’t changed now that the games count. He’s dismissed past performance. All that matters is how you’re playing now. Butler has not established that same level. Why? There is no easy answer.
 
The lack of a new contract cuts deeply. The unsettling offseason -- was he going to be a Saint? -- left quite a mark as well. But Butler came back to Foxboro with purpose, reporting for voluntary workouts. He was hell-bent on proving to all -- Belichick included -- that he was still the lead dog, not Stephon Gillmore, despite the $31 million dollars in guaranteed money the organization forked over to the former Buffalo Bill.
 
That strategy worked for a time. Butler was one of the Pats best players in training camp, right up until the joint practices with the Texans midway through August. What happened? Butler doesn’t know. But one mistake became two. His play in the preseason game with Houston was poor. His confidence suffered. He started pressing. That didn’t help. Butler was just as bad at Detroit. The kid that had always answered a knockdown with one of his own, instead wobbled to his feet. The inconsistencies were evident in practice but the "he's-Malcolm-he'll-fix-it" thought process that teammates echoed didn’t prove true, at least not entirely.
 
According to Eric Rowe, the cornerbacks were informed of the role change at the beginning of last week. But other teammates said they didn’t realize Butler wasn’t starting until the walkthrough Saturday. The ensuing fallout wasn’t surprising -- HE’S MALCOLM BUTLER, SUPER BOWL HERO, DAMMIT -- but the worry around the team has been justified because Butler takes things to heart. His swagger comes from the game. That was stripped away prior to the game against the Saints, and even at the beginning of this week, leading into the Texans game. Butler had to get his head right. If his meeting with the media Thursday is an indication, he has.

But the proof is in the play. Butler has always known that. And while his play didn’t warrant a role reduction, another message has been sent by the powers that be in Foxboro. What happens next is all on Butler. His future depends on it.

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

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Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

FOXBORO -- Anyone hoping to see Vincent Valentine make his season debut got some bad news Friday. 

Valentine, who has been inactive for both of the Patriots' first two games with a knee injury, was placed on injured reserve. ESPN's Field Yates was first to report the news.

With Valentine on IR, Geneo Grissom was added to the roster from the practice squad. ESPN's Mike Reiss had that one first:

Valentine, whom the Pats chose 96th overall in 2016, has not been practicing with the team as he's dealt with the knee injury.

A third-round pick of the Pats in 2015, Grissom was released by the team in September and signed to the practice squad a day later.