Seguin takes another step in Star-studded career

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Seguin takes another step in Star-studded career

KANATA, Ont. Tyler Seguin turns 20 as the Bruins prepare for the stretch run of their season.

Hes made a big step forward in his second NHL season, and his All-Star experience this weekend in Ottawa will have long-lasting positive effects on a player still learning just how good he can possibly become. Seguin assisted on a Joffrey Lupul goal in the third period of Team Charas solid 12-9 win over Team Alfredsson at Scotiabank Place Sunday, and he looked dangerous skating with Lupul and Phil Kessel over the course of the 60-minute exhibition.
You learn a ton. Last year was one thing where youre there and youre kind of observing, said Seguin, comparing last years rookie All-Star invite to this seasons entry into the NHL All-Star club. This year it was more talking and conversations. Guys know you by name and stuff like that. You get little details where you can pick their brains a little bit. Look at our first line tonight. You can sit there and talk to them while theyre playing phenomenally, and try to figure the reason behind it so you can be just as good.

Forwards like Corey Perry, Jarome Iginla, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa all manned spots on Seguins team, and thats the kind of veteran influence that can help Seguin continue his learning curve. Bruins coach Claude Julien has often spoke of Seguins development being slowed slightly because the youngster never played in the World Junior tournament or played for a Memorial Cup at the end of a junior hockey season.

So there were times when Seguin had played on the biggest, brightest hockey stage possibly, but winning a Stanley Cup and starring in an NHL All-Star game are the kind of things that show the Bs youngster the path of hockey righteousness.

Its great for a young guy to be around veteran star players in the league that have accomplished something; the way they act, the way they behave, how they approach their preparation for skills and games. Its huge for a young guy to see, said Chara. A lot of players probably think these guys just come and put on their skates and go.

But not . . . a lot of guys warm-up just like they do for other games. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to pull anything. The way they are with media, the way they are with fans and the way they are with guys from other teams. Its a good chance for a young player to learn.

Now Seguin will take all of the lessons that he learned during the weekend full of hockey superstars and add them right into a regular season where hes pacing toward 30-plus goals and nearly 80 points if he stays consistent with his numbers in the first half of the year.

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

Knicks' Noah suspended 20 games by NBA for drug policy violation

NEW YORK - Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks has been suspended 20 games without pay for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

The NBA announced the suspension Saturday, saying Noah tested positive for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 – something that can be found in over-the-counter supplements.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the suspension.

Noah has not played since Feb. 4 and was likely to miss the Knicks’ final 10 games this season because of a knee injury. The NBA said Noah’s suspension will begin with the ”first NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.”

Noah is in the first year of a four-year, $72 million contract. He and the Knicks (27-45) have been a disappointment this season. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in 46 games this season, and has been limited to 75 games over the past two seasons.

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

Haggerty: Legacies on the line at edge of another Bruins collapse

BRIGHTON, Mass – Let’s start with the straight fact that it’s asinine, apologist drivel to let the Bruins off the hook, and perpetuate an off-the-mark myth there isn’t enough talent on the B's roster to be a playoff hockey team.

They are middle-of-the-road in the talent department to be sure, and the roster depth clearly isn’t what it was in their elite years, as the Bruins balance an aging core group with an influx of youthful talent from the next generation. But this is also a proud, talented group with one of the best all-around centers in the NHL in Patrice Bergeron, a former Norris Trophy winner and future Hall of Fame defenseman in Zdeno Chara, a legitimate Hart Trophy candidate and in-his-prime All-Star left winger in Brad Marchand, an emerging 20-year-old offensive superstar in David Pastrnak and a former Vezina Trophy winning goaltender still in his prime in Tuukka Rask.

That doesn’t even mention high-end players David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug that are game-changing talents in their own right.

Combine that with the other players on the Bruins roster and this is a team interspersed with proud Stanley Cup winning players and enough talent to still take care of business in the final eight games and punch their playoff ticket. Winning a Cup in 2011 can never be taken away from Chara, Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand, Rask and Adam McQuaid, and neither can the seven straight seasons in the playoffs under Claude Julien.

But there’s a danger now of some late-in-the-game tarnish on Black and Gold legacies for some of those distinguished, proud players if they once again collapse down the stretch this season and miss the playoffs for the third year in a row with a late-season nosedive. Four consecutive regulation losses have cast doubt into everything for the Bruins and roused all the same old uncomfortable questions from the past three years.

Bergeron and Marchand need to find their best games and dominate the way elite players do in big-game situations like Saturday night vs. the Isles. Pastrnak, Brandon Carlo and Frank Vatrano need to show they're ready for the playoffs.Rask needs to finally show he's ready to shine as a No. 1 goalie and lead his team to victory in a big game rather than buckle under weighty pressure. 

“This is their legacy, those guys. They are Stanley Cup champions and they missed last year. Each year we talk about writing our own story, and I believe that because guys come and go,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “But generally there is a core group of guys and it’s their legacy. I’m sure they want to reach the playoffs and get back to being a Stanley Cup contender every year.

“That’s what they want and to a man I’m sure they would tell you that. I do believe that they believe it’s different [this season]. Until you change the course of your results, those questions are going to come. We have to change the results to make then go away. One week of not getting results that we want doesn’t mean we’re panicking, but we do understand what’s at stake. We want to be playing in April and May.”

If the Bruins can’t pull out a win on Saturday night against the Islanders, who just pushed even with them at 82 points on the season, then their playoff lives will no longer be under their own control anymore. It will become another late-season choke job by a team that will have its character and courage questioned. The highs of six years ago will be matched by the bitter lows of the past three seasons.

People won’t talk about a scrappy, little underdog Bruins team that just couldn’t get over the hump once again. Instead, they’ll lament a formerly proud, tough-minded group of hockey players that somehow turned into NHL tomato cans all too willing to play the victim once the going got tough late in the regular season.

That’s no way to go out if you’ve ever had your name etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup, and the Bruins that know better should be taking that to heart right now.