Seguin thriving, leading Swiss league in goals scored

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Seguin thriving, leading Swiss league in goals scored

Its only natural for Bruins fans to look at Tyler Seguin absolutely lighting it up in Switzerland, and wonder if theyd be watching him blossom into an NHL superstar this year if there hadnt been a lockout.

The 20-year-old Seguin potted a jaw-dropping 20 goals in his first 20 games skating for EHC Biel in the Swiss-A League, and overall has 32 points and 20 penalty minutes in 21 games for Biel. Hes adapted nicely to the speedy European League, and leads all NHL players in the Swiss League with his 20 goals. Thats more goals than an impressive list of Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, John Tavares, Logan Couture, Jason Spezza or Patrice Bergeron, who are all skating in the top Swiss League right along with Seguin.

In fact one could make the argument that Seguin has been the best, most valuable NHL player while in Europe over the last few months during the lockout. Seguin struggled slightly coming out of the gate when he first arrived in October, but he steadily improved before Blackhawks refugee Patrick Kane arrived to form a dynamic scoring duo with the Bruins prodigy. With nothing but European food that's a little different and bad "Dear John" episodes playing on the only English channel on his television, it appears Seguin is fully focused on hockey.

"I had no idea what to expect when I came to Switzerland," he told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper recently. "The league is very competitive -- the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me. It took me some time and effort to get used to it.

"Scoring goals is never easy; I didn't do very well at the beginning. Now I just hope to continue playing well like I have been lately.

Amazingly Seguin has also been a part of Biels penalty kill special teams unit something that never happened in his first two years skating under head coach Claude Julien and is killing penalties for the first time in his pro career. Seguin even tweeted about it after scoring on a short-handed goal following a shot that he blocked to start the scoring opportunity: something that never happened in Boston.

"Got a shorthanded goal the other night. Wonder if @NHLBruins will see it. blockshots" tweeted Seguin.

Clearly Seguin wouldnt be a goal-per-game player in the NHL this season, but many talented youngsters really make that ascension to something special during their third year in the league. In terms of recent Bruins players Phil Kessel exploded for 36 goals and 60 points in his third and final season in Boston before forcing his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and seemed to finally come into his full scoring powers as he turned 21 years old.

So its natural to wonder how much better Seguin would be than the All-Star forward that finished with 29 goals and 67 points last season, and project how good hell be if the NHL lockout lifts in December or January. Dont be surprised to see Seguin around Boston in the next few weeks as Biel goes on another lengthy break from games between Dec. 9-17.

But hell go back to piling up hat tricks in Switzerland if nothing is accomplished with the CBA by then, and Seguin simply just wanting to play hockey.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."