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Following Up On Tyler Seguin

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I think I have to go back and touch on yesterday’s column, don’t I?  I mean, after last night’s debacle of Seguin awesomeness it feels sort of mandatory.

If you haven’t read it, basically the message was this: the Bruins should keep Tyler Seguin’s minutes down – he can become a great player, but he’s just not ready to take on a bigger role yet.  It’s all about development at this point.

Best thing about his goals were his cellies: excited, w/ teammates. The Anti-Briere/Ovy

Then Seguin went out and set the world aflame using his stick as a blowtorch, scoring two goals and two assists in a single period, and suddenly finds himself the topic of every other article on the internet (according to my loose calculation) because of his big breakout moment.

Phew.  Well don’t I look like a moron.

Now, in the wake of that chaos, I feel the need to do two things: first, I need to have a smile at the hilarious juxtaposition of my column and his game.  I mean, I came off looking like a real tool there, folks, there’s no shaking that.  I deserved the public shaming I endured on twitter, and it probably shouldn’t end for a few days (I also deserved the Puck Daddy comment section of the article, which had 10 comments before the game, and 55 more after it).   /hindsight’d

But secondly, I’d like to attempt to defend myself, which I’ll do after a major qualifier, which please, I’d like you to listen to:

I saw something in Tyler Seguin’s game last night that I hadn’t seen before.  I always thought he was going to be a good NHLer, but last night sold me that he’ll be great.  On top of that, I find him charming in interviews, and I just generally like the kid, okay?  I’m not trying to take anything away from him as a player or a person or from Boston.  We heard that right?  Bourne is pro-Seguin.

Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t carry on with number two, defending myself.

The headlines from around the hockey community today range from “Tyler Seguin is making Claude Julien look bad,” to “a star is born.”

The second headline, as I mentioned above, I agree with.  The first – with apologies to friend Joe Yerdon – is patently untrue.

The implication from not just Joe, but many, many Boston fans, is that by scoring these points in two games Seguin is proving he should’ve been in the lineup since the start of playoffs.  Well, as the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont pointed out, in the 23 games leading up to playoffs, Seguin tallied a statline of 1-0-1, as in, one single goal and no assists over 23 games, barely trailing the likes of offensive greats like George Parros, who doubled his point total.  And that’s from a guy – Seguin, I mean – with a ¾ of a season under his belt whose role is strictly to produce offense.

Right to the teammates. Beauty.

What sane coach dresses that?  He doesn’t have the other attributes at his age and size (he’ll fill out, but for now he still looks like the teenager that he is) to make up for not producing.  He’s not gonna suddenly become a dump and chase guy; that’s the complete opposite of the direction the B’s want him to go.

Acknowledging the fact that he wasn’t contributing is just healthy coaching.  And now that he’s in the lineup with fresh legs in round three, Boston fans should be thanking their coach for doing the right thing with the suddenly-much-hungrier Seguin.

My contention in my first article on him is that it’d be best for his development if his minutes are kept low, and he isn’t asked to take on any more than he can handle. 

And, as it should be, last night he racked up a measly 13:55 – an improvement over his nearly-10 minutes in game one by a bit, but still, not by a ton.

When he was clearly seen to be on fire, Julien used him more.  Outside of that burst, ice time was back to status quo, and that’s perfect.  His coach is putting him in a position to succeed, and he’s answering the bell like only a great player can.

His second period was one of the single best periods of hockey I’ve ever seen a player play, and I mean that.  He has that gear that others don’t.  And while it’s awesome that he has that in him, it’s not always going to be like that.  We were treated to something special last night.

I’ll backpedal a step here on my original sentiment, which he deserves, and say he definitely appears ready to handle more than I thought he could.  That’s what players of his caliber do, I suppose – surprise, impress, exceed.

But I still contend that if the B’s hope to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in June, they can’t be reliant on the young guy for consistent offense.  For now they need to take what he can give – which may occasionally be what we just witnessed – and not much more. He’s on his opponents radar now, so  the work is just getting started.

*****

And just because his game was that awesome, that incredible….I give you his goals:

Craziest part of his two breakaway goals (including game one): he doesn’t really even fake a shot before going to his backhand.  He’s just skating so damn fast he’s almost able to deke it around Roli before he can get deep enough in his net.

Craziest part of this goal is the raging confidence: he feels how things are going for him, and knows he’s doing something special.  Even if that shot ends up being a save he gets credit for how incredible he’s playing, so he’s got nothing to lose.  He doesn’t even look back at the pass option.  As soon as he got it, he knew exactly what was happening next.  Awesome.

Comments

14 Responses to “Following Up On Tyler Seguin”
  1. iggy says:

    After reading your article, and watching last nights game, I still completely agree with you. Had Julien played him from the start of playoffs, Seguin probably would have continued his slump. Also we might not have seen the Chris Kelley show in the first two rounds. Sitting out definitley gave Seguin an opportunity to learn what to expect of NHL playoffs without getting tossed into the fire. And your other point is spot on as well, it made him hungrier. As much as I dislike the Bruins, Julien is an extremely hockey smart coach. If all these Bruins fans who have become raving “Seguinites” knew as much about hockey as he did, they would be behind the bench instead of him.

  2. Sherry says:

    I’m still getting a chuckle out of (as you said) “the hilarious juxtaposition of my column and [Seguin's] game”. :)

    But of course you are right in your column above (from an extreme layman’s prespective mind you – don’t know much about the kid as I haven’t watched much of the Bruins until the playoffs). Things are different during the regular season (and season to season) and it was obvious that something sepcial was happening last night. Fun to watch tho’, and it gooses the excitement level for subsequent games for sure.

  3. Pat says:

    As a Bostonian I was obviously happy to see his production in the past two games, he’s shown a willingness to go into the corners to dig out pucks and play the body a bit more which he really struggled with in regular season (understandably being a 19 year old playing against grown men). He’s also using his offensive skill set more (speed, puck protection and a quick shot) to his advantage.

    With that being said he still is a defensive liability out there, not something you want to hear about a player who everyone wants to see get more minutes especially with how Tampa’s offense comes in waves. I’d be happy to see him get more time on the PP but I’m not sure he knows his defensive responsibilities well enough or how to use his body positioning to his advantage in the defensive zone to be throwing major minutes at him like people are saying. Also in your defense it’s going to be hard to keep his 3 points/ game average going, he’s been doing great with zero expectations placed on him. What happens when you expect a 19 year to come through. That’s a lot of pressure.

    As for his goals he went glove side on his goal in game one. His first goal in game two he came with speed much like the goal in game one, I think Roli probably thought he was going to do the same move and was cheating a bit. That’s why the forehand/backhand to Roli’s blocker probably looked so effortless

  4. ms.conduct says:

    It’s a fact of writing about hockey. You say one thing and the player or team goes out and does the very thing that makes you look like the biggest jagoff possible. Happens to me all the time. The only thing I’ve figured out is to use it for your benefit. Work that reverse jinx!

  5. SDC says:

    It’s all about follow up — Seguin could easily have caught a mild case of Johan Franzen disease; in which you have sporadic periods of boggling awesomeness, and then disappear for long stretches of time. We’ll see what he puts up for the rest of the series. Good on him for showing he deserves to be in the lineup though.

  6. Adam Ferrante says:

    Justin,
    I have been following your site for a while now and I didn’t get a chance to read your article on Seguin until this morning , when I immediately felt sorry for you because I just knew what the posters on puck daddy were going to do to you.
    I know what you were trying to say in that article and I agree with you completely, but boy did it seem like Seguin read your article and decided to shove it up your _ _ _.
    Keep up the great work.

  7. jtbourne says:

    Ferrante! Long time no see brotha. Thanks for the support…dude done told me, to say the least.

    SDC – agreed. I’m not “wrong”…yet.

    Ms. C – I contemplated doing that today. A tongue in cheek “why Isles will never make playoffs again” piece.

  8. andy says:

    i completely agreed with the puck daddy article yesterday, and still do. so many times during the regular season he looked a little lost and a lot like a kid playing against men. hell, even after his first shift in game 1 he was -2.

    as pat said, seguins newfound willingness to be involved physically is a change from the regular season. maybe the biggest change. it seems like his willingness to engage was his “ah ha!” moment. hopefully it was, because when hes on, hes fun to watch.

  9. vx says:

    Justin, I think your blog yesterday (and today) was Right On. Talented guys have extraordinary games at times and when those horses take off, you give ‘em the green light. When they aren’t running, you work on their development. Knowing when to do what is the huge trick in coaching.

    fwiw, I turned the game off last night when the refs apparantly got the idea that they fans came to see them call bullshit penalties. As I wrote earlier this year in the comments, I think the reffing in the NHL has deteriorated TREMENDOUSLY in the last couple of years. And part of that is the asinine diving/enhancement that so many players are doing now. Swear to the gods, if I was running the NHL, I’d scrutinize every game film and suspend every muthafukkin diver I could find. And with each successive offense, I’d double the # of games. The combination of deteriorating officiating and cheating players is ruining the greatest game/league in the world.

    (/rant off)

  10. Kairos says:

    @JB I hear ya, actually. That wasn’t the same Seguin we saw all year. I read your article yesterday and found myself agreeing; after all, the position was sound. He looks 16 and isn’t built much bigger, but I tell ya I had no idea who was wearing 19 last night. Blazing speed. That being said the timing was impeccable!

  11. Pep says:

    While I agree with you that the kid did nothing leading into the playoffs to show he should be in the line up, Julien also showed his well known stubbornness for not playing kids when Seguin scored his goal in game 1. He didn’t put him on the ice for 13-15 minutes after the goal. Why wouldn’t you give him another shift shortly after that goal and see if his energy from it might help lift the crowd and lift the team a bit??

  12. Char says:

    As a Bruins fan, I can attest that you are correct on all accounts. It’s not been an easy year for Seguin, but growing and learning is never easy. In the long run he’ll be better for it, and we’ve just seen the first few steps.

  13. j says:

    even after his last game your 1st article was still spot on. his last game just also makes it amusing because timing is everything right?

  14. Jason B says:

    Good article- and points are all accurate. Will be fun to watch this kid over the years….19(!)

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