What’s Brewin with the Bruins by Tim Rosenthal of http://www.Bruinsdaily.com
Thanks to the shortened season, the schedule makers at the National Hockey League were forced to make some strange and quirky decisions. Friday’s game between the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres is just the latest example.
After defeating the Sabres last Sunday in Buffalo – with their third period comeback against the New York Rangers sandwiched in between – the Black and Gold return to the First Niagara Center for their first of five straight road games Friday night at the First Niagara Center.
Since their 7-4 loss to the Sabres, the Bruins have looked sharp defensively allowing just five goals in the four games since (3-0-1). But, even though Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner on the man advantage last Sunday, the power play continues to be a sore spot for Boston as they are ranked dead last at 9.3 percent.
Buffalo, meanwhile, is coming off a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators where they compiled a season-high 42 shots only to be stymied by Craig Anderson.
After the jump, lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7 p.m.
Location: First Niagara Center
T.V./Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (8-1-2, 18 points), Sabres (5-8-1, 11 points)
Bruins projected lineup
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Sabres projected lineup
Thomas Vanek-Cody Hodgson-Jason Pominville
Nick Foligno-Tyler Ennis-Drew Stafford
Steve Ott-Mikhail Grigorenko-Nathan Gerbe
John Scott-Jochen Hecht-Patrick Kaleta
Christian Ehrhoff-Andrej Sekera
Robyn Reghr-Tyler Myers
Adam Weber-Jordan Leopold
Bruins to watch
After notching 25 saves in the last meeting, it looks like Claude Julien will go with Anton Khudobin again for Friday’s meeting. If so it will be his third start of the season, and this move might pay dividends. With a busy slate coming up in March, Tuukka Rask could use a little extra rest even though he might have to shake off some rust if or when he gets the start on Sunday. But the big picture is the stretch run and anytime Khudobin puts in a quality performance it means a little extra to give Rask a breather.
While Tyler Seguin’s struggles have been well documented, Chris Kelly is seeing the same type of slump early. Much to the disappointment of fellow colleague Anthony Travalgia, the veteran has only three points – all assists – and is a minus-3 through the first 11 games. No doubt Kelly’s linemates, Chris Bourque and Rich Peverley, have also struggled, but for a deep, veteran team like the B’s, I’m sure Claude will like to get this line going sooner rather than later.
Sabres to watch
After sitting out the last meeting, Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers will face the Black and Gold for the second time this season. The struggles of the former Calder Trophy winner have been well documented in Buffalo and was recently a healthy scratch against the Isles and B’s. Myers, a former first round pick, has just one goal and is a minus-9 on the season, both far from ideal stats for a top-four defenseman.
The Sabres’ secondary scoring has been an issue all season, but Tyler Ennis is starting to come along. The former first round pick has strung together a nice five-game stretch notching three goals and two assists. While Ennis and Nick Foligno have been a nice one-two punch, they will need to get production out of Drew Stafford, who is still without a goal on the season despite logging over 18 minutes a night. Look for Stafford to get some looks again as he tries to break out of his slump.
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The Days of Y’Orr crew have a good amount of material in store when they debut their pregame show tonight at 6:15 p.m.
With Nathan Horton on the last year of his contract, the Game 7 hero against Montreal and Tampa hopes to stay in Boston according to DJ Bean of WEEI.com.
Die By the Blade says the Sabres need production out of Stafford if they are to bust out of their offensive woes.
Sabres noise analyzes the team’s goaltending situation.
And Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News says Friday’s matchup might not be as much of a mismatch as you think.
Tweets of interest
Even though the focus is on the task in hand, the Bruins might want to bring some extra layers when they travel to Winnipeg for Sunday’s contest against the Jets (via@NHLBruins).
And in a rare instance, we are keeping today’s tweets of interest Bruins’ centric. Here’s what CSN New England Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) tweeted in his conversation with Khudobin regarding the meteorite that hit Russia earlier today (our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and other effected by this circumstance overseas).
What’s Bruin with the Bruins by Chris Chirichiello of http://www.bruinsdaily.com
(Photo Credit: Joe Makarski/BruinsDaily) Tyler Seguin alongside David Krejci is a Bruins fan’s fantasy.
The Boston Bruins will embark on their longest road trip of the season starting this Friday as they travel to Buffalo. The black and gold will also have stops in Winnipeg (Tyler Seguin set your alarm the correct way please), Tampa, Florida and New York before returning home to host the Ottawa Senators at the end of February.
The B’s are off to their best start in franchise history (8-1-2) and will need to continue their torrid pace away from the TD Garden. The team has a 4-0-1 record away from home so it should not be an issue, but it is a crucial part of their schedule before the B’s will play a whopping 17 games in March.
Here are my five keys to having a successful five game road trip.
1. The Power Play must improve
The Bruins have converted on 9.3% (4-43) of their power-plays on the year. That is bad. That is unacceptable and it should not happen with the talent on this roster. When you have a man-advantage, you must punish the opposition as Andy Brickley stated the other night. The Bruins just do not attack the net on the man advantage and that must change because the chances are there and it will come back to haunt them. Sure, their defense is keeping them in games, but the Bruins need a nice 5-1 win on the road with two power-play goals to get their confidence back. And oh yeah, have Seguin on the power-play more than Chris Bourque. Also, why not try Brad Marchand on the man advantage? This “little ball of hate” has been lighting the lamp at will lately.
2. Give Anton Khudobin three starts so Tuukka Rask can clear his head
I know people want Rask to be “The Man” but why not give Khudobin some time and give Tuukka some time to rest? Khudobin is no push over. He is 2-0 this year and only has one loss in his career plus Tuukka will be called upon a lot in the month of March with 17 games to be played. There is nothing wrong with letting the back-up play if he is pretty good like Khudobin. Look for Khudobin on the road trip.
3. Leave Seguin with David Krejci
These two were paired together in the third period of the Montreal Canadiens game down 1-0. By the time you got comfortable after the intermission, the Bruins led 2-1 two minutes into the third period, goal by Seguin assisted by Krejci and then a game-winning Krejci goal assisted by Seguin. It is not hard that these two can make a lot happen while on the ice together. They are both play-makers and if each line essentially plays the same amount, why not try to utilize the best opportunities with these two alongside each other?
4. Third line scoring
The Bourque-Kelly-Peverley line must get going. This line has two goals in 11 games and has not put much together. It has been tough to watch as a fan, but once they gain more chemistry together, this line could finally get rolling. Chris Kelly has yet to score (sorry Ant) while netting 20 goals last season. Peverley netted 11 goals last season while dishing out 31 assists. Their statistics this year must balloon and they will, it will just take some, but Bruins fans are tired of waiting on this third line. Fans want the Bourque experiment to end, but he has played a few sound games in a row regaining his confidence.
5. Get Dougie Hamilton back on track.
Hamilton was off to a hot start in Boston, but lately he has been suspect over the last five games. He was a -1 versus the Rangers, a -1 versus Buffalo, and -2 versus Buffalo dating back to Jan. 31 to name a few. He has not recorded a point since Jan. 28 versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Dougie is a rookie, but he is playing like a 10-year veteran. He has yet to record a penalty which is remarkable with the amount of time he is on the ice. Hamilton will be a star for years. I am not saying he is playing bad, but he needs to get his confidence back. Look for him to go on a little point streak during this road trip.
What’s Brewin with the Bruins by Tim Rosenthal of Bruins Daily
(Photo credit: Sharon Bradley) Tuukka Rask is one of the main reasons why the Boston Bruins are off to their best 10-game start in franchise history
By now, many Boston Bruins fans are aware of the team’s 8-1-1 record through the first 10 games – their best in franchise history. There have been some minor hiccups along the way, including their ongoing power play woes, but obviously for the most part things are looking up in The Hub of Hockey.
Here are 10 thoughts from your’s truly on the Bruins’ rampant start to the 2013 National Hockey League season.
1) Tuukka Rask’s stellar play
Many were wondering how Tuukka would respond as heir apparent to Tim Thomas, and so far he has been nothing short of extraordinary. The Finnish netminder is 5-1-1 on the season with a 1.96 goals against average and a .922 save percentage and is really positioning himself well from post to post.
This was the Bruins’ top question heading into the 2013 season and so far Tuukka has passed all the tests. But can he continue this roll?
2) The Tim Thomas trade
Count this as another win for Peter Chiarelli.
While the Bruins’ general manager might only get a second round pick in return – if Thomas actually reports to the New York Islanders – he got $5 million in cap relief by trading the two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
The Bruins now have a little over $8 million in cap space according to CapGeek.com. And after this hot start, they could potentially be that much better after the trade deadline. (Jarome Iginla or Steven Weiss, anyone?)
3) Brad Marchand leading the team in goals
After returning to the lineup Sunday from an upper-body injury, Marchand picked up right where he left off. The ‘little ball of hate’ scored the team’s first goal in the 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres increasing his team-leading total to six on the season. What’s more impressive is his shot percentage, which is at 42.9 percent.
Apparently, there’s no secret to his success.
“It’s different every time. You go through points of the year where things are going well and you go through others where things don’t click as well,” Marchand said after Monday’s practice. “You can go nine or ten games without a goal and go five games with goals. So it’s just how things go.”
Things are certainly clicking for Marchand right now on the scoresheet, but the Bruin with many monikers continues to play with an edge. And that is a welcomed sighting after slowing down when returning from last year’s suspension for his hit on Vancouver Canucks defenseman Sami Salo 13 months ago.
4) The play of Dougie Hamilton
So much for his struggles in the World Junior Championships. Even with the benefit of skating alongside Dennis Seidenberg – and with Zdeno Chara in a couple of instances – Hamilton has really provided a spark on the blueline as the second leading scorer on the team among defensemen. The 19-year old from Toronto sure has a bright future, but even now he is helping Peter Chiarelli’s decision to trade Phil Kessel to the Leafs.
5) Tyler Seguin
While one part of the Kessel trade has been doing quite well, the other is still looking for his groove. In what many expected another breakout season for Seguin, the 21-year old forward has only compiled three points thus far (two goals, one assist) and is still a little snakebitten. Seguin did provide a jolt in the third period of the Bruins’ 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday and he is still being assertive, which is a positive sign for coach Claude Julien.
Seguin, like Kessel, has been known to be a streaky scorer. So when he gets going, the goals should come in bunches.
6) The Merlot line
One of many benefits that Julien has is that they can roll all four lines on any given night. When the top lines struggle, Claude can usually count on Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille to provide more energy. Campbell and Thornton can drop the gloves at any moment and can muscle their way in battles for loose pucks, while Paille’s speed is something opposing defenses need to respect. All three can also provide a scoring touch if need be.
7) The power(less) play
Where to begin. Is it the lack of a “puck-moving defenseman”? Is it a lack of shots directed at opposing goalies? Is it because they don’t get many clean entries into the blue-line?
For a team that has struggled on the power play over the last few seasons, one would think this issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. They’ve certainly tried to spark the man advantage by putting David Krejci on the point and Tyler Seguin on the half-wall, but so far that has been to no avail.
Maybe things are heading in the right direction after Patrice Bergeron scored his game-winner on the power play Sunday night. But maybe its just hopeless optimism. Either way the man advantage continues to be a work in progress.
8) The polar opposite penalty kill
One thing that has been consistent in the Julien era has been the penalty kill and this year is no different. The Bruins are currently tied with the Chicago Blackhawks in PK percentage killing off nearly 93 percent of the opposing power plays.
That is impressive in it and itself, but the Black and Gold shorthanded units have come up huge in clutch situations that includes a 5-on-3 against the New York Rangers in the third period on opening night and two overtime kills in a shootout victory against the Winnipeg Jets. Even more impressive, the 6-foot-9 Chara was serving a penalty in both instances.
9) Claude’s coaching
It’s no secret that many consider Julien’s system a defensive first approach. But the players have bought in to the Bruins bench boss’ ways and it seems apparent again this year.
Aside from their 7-4 loss to Buffalo nearly two weeks ago, the Bruins defense has been solid allowing 2.1 goals per game. But the Black and Gold – even though they are in the middle of the league in scoring currently with 2.7 goals per game – also pride themselves using the D to transition into offense.
While they’ve had no stud 50-goal scorers, the B’s have often ended up as one the top 10 teams in scoring with several netting 20 or more goals. And Julien is pretty comfortable with that approach despite some early season struggles offensively.
“I don’t think we are a team that is bad at scoring. I think we are a team that scores by committee,” said Julien. “We struggle to get that 50-goal scorer – or this year that 30-goal scorer – but we are still a team that is usually in the top five in goals scored. I don’t anticipate that being an issue, but right now we are snake bitten with all the chances we have and that we haven’t been able to capitalize as we should.”
10) Familiarity breads success
Aside from Thomas, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle, many members of the 2011 Cup run are still donning the Black and Gold. Not only has that been beneficial to the team’s hot start, but it’s also a testament to sticking with Julien’s system through good times and bad.
“It’s definitely huge,” Marchand said about the locker room familiarity. “It’s been a couple of years that we’ve been playing together and especially in a shortened season like we have this year where everything is so compact and we didn’t really have a training camp or a whole lot of practice time. It definitely makes things a little easier and it’s showing out there.”
In a shortened season, a veteran presence is a nice thing to have. And that can especially come in handy come playoff time.
Much maligned coach here, Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks has a situation that Washington Capitals Coach Adam Oates wishes he did, two good starting net minders Going into the season, Canucks GM Mike Gillis amd Vigneault stated that Cory Schneider would be the Canucks starter. Well after a 2-2 start and a GAA of north of 3, Roberto Luongo got his shot to play and his play has been phenomenal 3 wins sub 1.30 GAA. Schneider has said everything right about the situation, but his agent Mike Liut of Octagon Sports has turned into every parent who’s kid isn’t playing enough.
Speaking to the Vancouver Sun Monday, Liut had the following dumbass things to say… ”Our concern is we were hoping that this would be the year that Cory would play 75 per cent of the games,” “If they are both there for the entire season, and it’s a 48-game season, and Roberto plays 40 games, that’s a disaster,” “That’s an extreme and I don’t think that’s going to happen, but certainly the sooner [there's a resolution] the better.
Yea, Mike, force the hand of the team where your client is, I am positive that will work out well for him. Face facts, Vancouver has 10 million dollars ties up in salary cap space between it’s 2 goaltenders, and Luongo has 10 years left on a 12 year deal signed in 2010 with a cap hit of 5.33 mil. The way Luongo has played as of late, makes holding onto him a great move for Gillis, let him play and get his trade value up, but since his years and cap hit are what they are, there is only 1 team in the running and that’s Toronto. Gillis has the leverage in this situation and isn’t giving away Luongo for nothing or 2 1st round draft picks the way Brian Burke did for Phil Kessel. (Cue Thank You Kessel chant here)
We tell parents of kids to not beg for playing time, about time agents learn the same rules.
On today’s episode of Felger and Mazzarotti on 98.5 The Sports Hub, the boys are debating a trade rumor involving Boston Bruins backup goaltender Tukka Rask and Columbus Blue Jackets superstar Rick Nash. And I have one answer to this rumor, Get me a # 61 Bruins jersey already. While I admit that the NHL has become the NFL where the top 15 forwards run the league, goaltenders have become Running Backs, good ones are a dime a dozen and you need more than 1 to compete to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup in June.
Let’s take a look at Nash’s career numbers
|2002-03||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||74||17||22||39||78||-27||–||–||–||–||–|
|2003-04||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||80||41||16||57||87||-35||–||–||–||–||–|
|2005-06||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||54||31||23||54||51||5||–||–||–||–||–|
|2006-07||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||75||27||30||57||73||-8||–||–||–||–||–|
|2007-08||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||80||38||31||69||95||2||–||–||–||–||–|
|2008-09||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||78||40||39||79||52||11||4||1||2||3||2|
|2009-10||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||76||33||34||67||58||-2||–||–||–||–||–|
|2010-11||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||75||32||34||66||34||2||–||–||–||–||–|
|2011-12||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||16||4||8||12||6||-10|
263 career NHL goals on a Bruins team that over its last 5 games is averaging 6 goals per game but before that a 2-1 game seemed almost insurmountable, the Bruins need a player that can wheel and snipe and play with Seguin and Marchand going forward.
by Tim Rosenthal http://bruinsdaily.com
Coming off a four-day break, the Bruins return to the TD Garden ice for the first time since their 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday when they welcome the Montreal Canadiens — who downed the Philadelphia Flyers last night at the Bell Centre just an hour after firing assistant coach Perry Pearn — tonight.
Not only will this be the first game since the epic encounter in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but this will also be the first time that Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty reunite since Pacioretty’s 2010-11 campaign ended in with a controversial hit from Chara (insert 911 jokes here).
Puck Drop: 7 p.m.
TV: NESN; Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
2010-11 series: Habs 4-2
Expected goalie matchup: Tim Thomas vs. Carey Price
What to watch for (Bruins)
Perhaps this is exactly what the doctor ordered.
In a midst of an early season slump, the Bruins finally get to renew the rivalry with the struggling Habs, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back. But while the Black and Gold finally get a matchup with their archrivals, they’ll still have to produce.
Early on, the Bruins have been a little out of sync and have been a step behind for the most part with the exceptions of their wins against Tampa, Chicago and Toronto. Because of this, head coach Claude Julien has had to make some line changes. For some, like Milan Lucic (this week’s Bruins Daily player of the week), Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, the results have been good so far. But others, like Benoit Pouliot, David Krejci and Rich Peverley, they’ll have to contribute a little more.
After missing the last four games with a head/neck injury, defenseman Adam McQuaid is symptom free according to Julien and could suit up for the Black and Gold for the first time since the team traveled to Carolina several weeks ago.
What to watch for (Canadiens)
In a game with several events happening before and after — from Pearn’s firing to Price finally getting career win No. 100 — the Habs traveled overnight to Beantown and will look to generate a little momentum after one of their worse starts in quite awhile.
Tonight’s game could potentially be a night full of emotions for Pacioretty, who obviously reunites his own acquaintances with Chara, which dates back to last January even with the shove after an overtime win in Montreal. On the other hand, Pacioretty, who scored twice against Philly Wednesday, has stated that he has put last year’s hit behind him after sustaining a fractured vertebrae as a result.
More importantly in Montreal, though, head coach Jacques Martin has been under scrutiny due to the slow start. Although last night’s win helped ease things for a day, there is still more pressure for him to get out of this early hole and get on the winning track. Otherwise, Martin’s tenure with the Habs might come to an early end.
Gameday links (Bruins)
Joe Haggerty of Comcast SportsNet New England has more on McQuaid’s status.
Chara avoided questions regarding Pacioretty yesterday according to James Murphy of ESPN Boston
Days of Y’Orr has their always entertaining preview of tonight’s game.
Gameday links (Habs)
Arpon Basu from NHL.com recaps last nights victory in Montreal.
Legendary Montreal Gazette Habs writer Pat Hickey explains why Pearn was the scapegoat for the Habs early season problems.
by Anthony http://bruinsdaily.com
The Bruins came out to a slow start in the first few minutes of the first and the Sharks capitalized on this for the only goal of the first period. Here are the first period notes:
Sharks get on the board first when Pavelski rips one past the glove to Thomas. Joe Thornton grabs an assist on the goal after a Johnny Boychuk turnover at the Bruins blueline.
Bruins first team to go on the power play after Andrew Desjardins gets two for boarding. Bruins hit the net just twice on the power play and fail to score.
The Sharks goal really seemed to wake the B’s up as they took over play after the Pavelski goal.
Sharks get their first power play less then midway through the power play after Chara gets two for interference.
Bruins getting plenty of scoring chances here in the first, but Niemi is having himself a solid period.
Little Brad Marchand sent big Joe Thornton to the ice with a nice open ice hit, the Garden faithful really approves that one.
Shots on goal: Bruins-14 Sharks-10
Goals: Bruins-None Sharks: Pavelski(4)
Penalties: Bruins: Chara(Interference) Sharks: Desjardins(Boarding)
by Tim Rosenthal, http://www.bruinsdaily.com
BOSTON — The champs are here.
While WWE superstar John Cena might overuse that reference, the same holds true for the Bruins as they begin their defense of Lord’s Stanley for the 2011-12 season.
On Friday, Bruins veterans reported to training camp for off-ice testing before they hit the ice for the first practice of the season Saturday at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the TD Garden. And its safe to say that they are eager to put last year behind already — even before they raise the banner on opening night — and focus on defending their title.
This year, they have a huge target on their backs as the defending champions.
And unlike the previous 12 champions, the Black and Gold are hoping they don’t suffer the same fate of the Stanley Cup hangover.
“The famous ‘Stanley Cup hangover’ talk is there,” said head coach Claude Julien. “We’re not different from anyone else. Teams are going to bring their best against you every night and we understand that part of it. We’re going to get ourselves ready [for the challenge] and respond properly.”
Although many players thoroughly enjoyed their summer of Stanley, they are doing their best to try to avoid the hangover during the off-season.
Forward Patrice Bergeron felt that his day with the Cup helped ease things a little bit.
“At some point you have to turn the page,” he said. “Honestly I felt like the day with the Cup helped me a lot in doing that. It was nice to share the Cup with my family and friends in doing that. But after that I felt like I needed to turn my focus on this year [and defending the Cup].”
Make no mistake, the Cup hangover is acknowledged from players and coaches alike in the organization. But at no point in the season will they use this as an excuse when they know they have that huge target on their backs.
Second year forward Tyler Seguin — who hopes to improve on his 22-point rookie season — believes his team has a great chance at repeating.
“Word being whispered around here is repeat,” said Seguin, who gained 10 pounds during the off-season. “I think we have the team to do it. There is the Cup hangover everyone talks about and we want to fight through it.”
by Anthony Travalgia http://www.thehubofhockey.net
The hub of hockey will be taking a look at the top 10 Bruins regular season games of 2010-11, followed by the top ten Bruins playoff games of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Today we take a look at No. 10: January 11, 2011 Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins.
The Bruins scored early and scored often and Patrice Bergeron had a hat trick that occurred twice. Tim Thomas recorded his sixth shutout as the Bruins blanked the Senators 6-0.
In the second period the Bruins scored off a deflection, the goal was credited to Bergeron, his third of the game. The Bruins fans covered the Garden Ice as Bergeron celebrated his first career NHL hat trick, only for the goal to be taken away minutes later as the puck actually deflected off a Senators defenseman.
Bergeron would score again in the third, this time clear as day, and the remaining hats in the building came flying through the air.
It was the first hat rick of Bergeron’s career.
Bruins Goal Scorers: Bergeron-3, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin, Blake Wheeler.
Senators Goal Scorers: None
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In order of jersey number, each individual will be showcased and given out a final grade for their regular season and playoff efforts.
Today’s edition we have No. 19, rookie Tyler Seguin.
Name: Tyler Seguin
Contract: $900,000 per season; $3.55 million includes bonuses through 2012-13NHL season
EV: Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler, 10.74% and 57.8% with Chris Kelly and Ryder
PP: Mark Recchi and Ryder 19.79% and 38.1% in the playoffs
2010-11 NHL season stats:
Regular season: 74 GP: 11-11–22, minus-4, 18 PIM, 131 SOG
Playoffs: 13 GP: 3-4–7, plus-5, 2 PIM, 22 SOG
Anthony’s take: Tyler Seguin’s highly anticipated rookie season was an up and down one for the 19-year-old. Seguin clearly struggled making the transition to the NHL level. The biggest concern was his play in the defensive end. With the game getting faster, and the players bigger, it’s easy to understand why Seguin struggled.
Despite just 22 points (11 goals) in 74 regular season games, Seguin showed the Bruins some positives, and just what type of player he could be. Seguin’s tremendous speed and quick hands show that Seguin can handle himself in the NHL, as long as he gets stronger and tougher.
After being the healthy scratch for the Bruins first two playoff series, Seguin filled in for the injured Patrice Bergeron during the Eastern Conference Finals. Seguin notched 6 points (3 goals) in his first two career playoff games, then went on to add just one more point throughout the rest of the playoffs.
Final grade: C+
Marino’s grade: The two things that stand-out to me about Seguin from beginning to end of his rookie season: 1. Has been his maturity throughout the year. He came into a hockey town with enormous expectations, failed to live up to those unfair comparisons and projections early on, but kept his head-up — taking his healthy scratches, constructive in-game criticisms, and frequent benchings like a true pro. He said all the right things when the microphones were in his face, and certainly learned the ropes from some of NHL’s best. He credited Shawn Thonrton in particular, during the Tampa Bay series, as the one player whose words of wisdom really hit home about his daily scratches in the previous series.
2. His improvement: He looked similar to a deer in headlights in the early stages of his rookie campaign. Once the big man on campus, Seguin had to adjust to the big size and physical changes from Juniors to the NHL level, as well as the speed and skill levels of each opposing player. His progression from a kid who didn’t know the meanings of backchecking and ‘taking the body’ to a more than serviceable forward on a Stanley Cup winning team we glaringly obvious.
Here’s to even more progression in ’11-12.
Final grade: C+