Tyler Seguin Unafraid of Enormous Expectations for Bruins

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Tyler Seguin Unafraid of Enormous Expectations for Bruins WILMINGTON, Mass. — Tyler Seguin walked in, and a hush fell over the room.

That's what happens when, in the span of just a couple of weeks, you go from an 18-year-old kid chasing a dream to the future of a franchise in one of the biggest sports media markets in America.

Seguin, however, is up for the challenge.

"I've expected it," this year's No. 2 overall draft pick said on Tuesday at the Bruins' developmental camp. "I knew this was a pretty high market, just because of all the sports that are in this town."

Of course, with that attention come perks.

"I got the chance to go to a Red Sox game, and when we were sitting there doing an interview — Nathan Horton and I — they were chanting, 'Let's go Bruins' in the background," Seguin said. "The fans know who we are, I guess, and I know the atmosphere here will be phenomenal, and I know I'm coming to quite the market for sports."

Yes, the fans certainly know who he is. Since April 13 — the day of the NHL draft lottery — the Bruins faithful have been eagerly awaiting either Seguin or Taylor Hall. The two prospects entered the draft ranked No. 1 and 2 respectively by Central Scouting, and ultimately, Edmonton chose Hall with the first pick.

Up until the moment the Oilers picked Hall, nobody knew which way they would lean. Now, just more than two weeks later, the futures of two clubs prepare to embark on a couple of wild journeys. It's Seguin, not Hall, who will be tasked with the job of restoring dominance to this storied Original Six franchise. To many fans, the future rests solely on Seguin's shoulders.

Those are lofty expectations to thrust upon an 18-year-old prospect who has yet to log a single minute of NHL ice time. But if anyone is up for the challenge, it's Seguin. 

"My philosophy all year has kind of been do your own thing and stay focused," he said. "My expectations are that I'm going to get an opportunity this summer, and with camps coming up ahead, I'm going to go in there and work my hardest and hopefully earn a spot with this club next year."

Seguin's levelheadedness belies his 18 years. He is well aware of the enormous pressure facing him as he enters this franchise, and he is not afraid of it. The former Plymouth Whalers center, who finished the 2009-10 season with 48 goals and 58 assists for 106 points in 63 games, knows exactly what to expect.

The constant training and testing and speculation can be grueling for anyone else, but not for Seguin. For him, this grind is exactly what he's made for.

"That's what I think it is to be a professional — you have to be 100 percent committed, so even though there's tests all along the way, they're not only tests for the people I meet but tests for myself, to see where I'm at and where I need to improve," he said.

Seguin also is well aware that his place on Boston's 2010-11 roster is anything but guaranteed. He still has a job to do; he still has to show Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins brass why they chose him.

But although Seguin refuses to take this chance for granted, that doesn't mean that if he fails to make the team this fall, he won't be completely distraught. Just because he doesn't expect anything doesn't mean he doesn't have a specific goal in mind.

"My goal is to come into this camp, make an impression, work my hardest and earn a spot, be an impact player my rookie year," he said. "Obviously if that doesn't work out, I'll be disappointed, but it's just adversity and I have to face it head-on and go out there and keep proving myself in the AHL."

Even so, Seguin doesn't want it to be too easy. He wants to be on the Bruins' roster next year, but he wants to earn it on the ice. No. 2 overall pick or not, he's going to work for it. He doesn't want anything that comes on a silver platter.
 
"I think when you look at anything in life, you feel more proud and more successful when you actually earn something," he said. "I don't want to walk into an organization and just make it. I want to go in there, get respect from players, get respect from coaches, make a stand, show I have a good work ethic on and off the ice and really go in there and earn my spot."

It's been a while since Boston had a prospect of this caliber right under its nose. Seguin is a special player, and everyone else at the Bruins' developmental camp knows it, too. The other guys are bound to pay closer attention to him, using the No. 2 pick as a measuring stick for their own progress and their own chances of ultimately making it to Boston.

"It's really hard to just sit there and try to compare to each other," Seguin said. "Everyone here is good at what they do, they're in this locker room for a reason, and we're all going to be out there competing for our spots on this team.

"We're all friends in here," he added. "But we're all enemies."

Seguin is also keeping a close eye on a measuring stick of his own.

Prior to the draft, pundits claimed that if Edmonton passed over Seguin and opted for Hall instead, Seguin would be primed to use it as motivation. He's a competitive guy. That's not to say he didn't want to end up in Boston — he did — but he wants to be the best. Now, the challenge is to prove himself by showing the Oilers exactly what they passed up.

It also means keeping one eye on Hall, whom the Oilers signed on Monday.

"I think throughout our careers, there's always going to be that rivalry, just because of what's happened this past year, and I'm going to face it head-on," Seguin said.

Now, the Taylor-or-Tyler drama is finally over. Seguin has found his place, he is aware of the task that lies ahead, and he is ready to confront it. Now, he's relieved by the fact that there are answers instead of endless speculation.

He's also relieved that he no longer has to answer one particular question, over and over again: Where will he end up?

"Oh, it's nice [not to have to answer that anymore]," Seguin said with a laugh. "I don't even know what you guys are going to ask me, with those [questions] out of the picture."

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