BOSTON — The Bruins will be taking on Montreal Wednesday at the Garden in a showdown for the top spot in the Northeast Division, but they won't have prized rookie Tyler Seguin in the lineup when they face the Habs.
For just the second time in his young career, Seguin will be a healthy scratch. Claude Julien announced the decision to sit Seguin after the morning skate, opting instead to use fellow rookies Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron against Montreal.
"I don't think we have to overanalyze this," Julien said. "We have to sit somebody out. I know who he is. I know where he was drafted. I know all that stuff. I think right now we've brought up Caron who we feel is a good fit on that fourth line and Hamill is a guy we want to have a look at. There's a guy who's third-year pro and he needs to have a look too. And right now that's the choice we've made."
Seguin didn't make it an especially difficult choice, as he has struggled of late with just one point in his last 11 games. It isn't just his lack of production though, as Seguin, who also missed one game with the flu and 8-9-17 totals in 51 games overall this season, has also had difficulty adjusting to the physical nature of the pro game and the added defensive responsibilities necessary to compete at this level.
"There's a lot on his plate right now," Julien said. "That's what people have to understand. There's a lot on his plate right now. I know he's lost a bit of his edge and there's been times where he's lost the puck when he's a guy that should be able to hold on to it. There's parts of his game that have slipped a little bit."
Seguin recognizes that as well, noting after the skate that, "I definitely want to elevate my game and I think I need to."
At that point, Seguin had not been informed he wasn't going to dress, but after playing less than 10 minutes in each of the last four games and with Hamill and Caron each called up in the last week, he certainly could see the writing on the wall.
"I have to earn everything I get, whether it's five minutes or 10 minutes a night I have to take advantage of that," Seguin said. "Even if I'm sitting on the bench for a while I have to somehow get my legs to work, which is something I'm not used to but something that I've got to change."
Seguin stated his confidence has not been affected by the reduction in ice time, and that he knows there are other parts of his game he needs to change as well, particularly his compete level.
"I think getting a little bit more involved in the corners, battling and grinding a bit more," Seguin said when asked what he needs to work on. "In juniors I was able to stay on the outside a bit more and let others do that where I could get the puck in the middle and go. Up here I think the good players are the guys who can do that but also get their nose dirty. That's what pro hockey is, so that's something that I have to adapt to."
And despite scratching him on Wednesday, Julien stressed that the Bruins still are confident that Seguin will live up to the enormous potential they saw in him when picking him second overall in last June's draft.
"That doesn't change the outlook of what we think of him," Julien said. "I think it's a phase he's going through this year. It' a lot different at this level than what he's used to. It's never a bad thing to watch. It's never a bad thing to get a rest at this time of year."