WILMINGTON, Mass. — Tyler Seguin had given the Bruins no reason to send him back to his junior club, but that doesn’t mean the possibility wasn’t still weighing on his mind.
The Bruins could have returned their prized rookie to the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League before he played 10 games in the NHL and not used up a season of his three-year entry-level deal.
But they needed just seven games to determine that Seguin already belonged in Boston. The 18-year-old center was informed that he would be sticking around for the full year after Thursday’s 2-0 victory over Toronto, much to Seguin’s relief.
“Obviously you’re going to worry about stuff like that,” said Seguin after practice Friday. “It’s going to cross your mind every once in a while, and it definitely did.”
Seguin admitted he hasn’t fully grasped the significance of the announcement.
“It’s only been however many hours since it happened,” said Seguin. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it does feel good.”
Despite scoring his second goal of the season in the game, Seguin also admitted that when he was initially called in to coach Claude Julien‘s office, he feared he had done something wrong.
“It’s too bad they think every time they step in the coach’s office it’s bad news,” said Julien. “Hopefully he understands now that every once in a while there’s some good things that come out of that office.”
Seguin has done plenty of good things in his first handful of games, but the Bruins also know there’s plenty of room for improvement with the second overall pick. The club is confident that Seguin will continue to work on those aspects of his game, and has no concerns that he will become complacent now that he knows he will be up for the season.
“I think the reason we did that is we understand his personality,” said Julien. “If you thought for a second he might get comfortable, you would have waited until the last possible moment. But we don’t feel he has that [attitude]. He’s pretty humble. He understands that there’s parts of his game he wants to get better to play more in this league. His tools are there and you want to keep him going in the right direction. And he’s done that.
“He’s on the right track,” added Julien. “We like what we see and he’s an individual who really wants to get better, so it was important for us to tell him at the right time and we felt that after the game last night was as good a time as any.”
Seguin’s teammates were equally happy that he knows he’ll be sticking around for the season.
“It’s going to be nice for him to know that he’s going to be here for the rest of the year,” said Patrice Bergeron. “He’s been doing great. I don’t think he’s been worried about it too much, but it’s always nice to know for sure.”
Bergeron dealt with the same uncertainty during the opening games of his rookie season in 2003-04, and remembers how relieved he was to find out he was staying with the club after the 10-game window.
“It was a good feeling,” said Bergeron. “I was very happy. I was learning so much in those nine games, and to get that call was something very special.”
Bergeron also had a lot of help off the ice, as he lived with veteran teammate Martin Lapointe and his family during his first year. Seguin’s living situation is still to be determined, but he’s anxious to get out of the hotel he’s been staying in.
“Definitely, I feel like every time I get back there I get sick or something,” said Seguin.
Linemate Mark Recchi has been a valuable mentor on the ice for Seguin, but he won’t be taking on Lapointe’s role with Seguin away from the rink.
“He can come over any time he wants,” said Recchi, who added that his place is a little too small for making Seguin a permanent guest.
Still, Recchi is glad that Seguin will be around all season and can visit his place whenever he wants.
“It’s good, it’s obviously a nice relief for him,” said Recchi. “He gets to settle in now and doesn’t have to worry about it. He can figure out his home situation.”
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