Tyler Seguin’s Strong Start Garnering Praise From Opponents and Teammates Alike


November 8, 2011

Tyler Seguin's Strong Start Garnering Praise From Opponents and Teammates AlikeBOSTON — With his stellar start to the season, Tyler Seguin has quickly become the toast of the town in Boston.

But the second-year star's emergence hasn't gone unnoticed around the rest of the league either. That tends to happen when a 19-year-old sits tied for 10th in the NHL in points with 15 and tied for seventh in goals with eight, leading the reigning Stanley Cup champions in both categories as well as leading the entire league in plus/minus at plus-11 through 13 games.

And while Seguin's impressive early scoring binge has come as a bit of a surprise after his modest rookie campaign produced just 11-11-22 totals in 74 games, it's not completely unforeseen for a highly-touted prospect to make a leap like that with a season's worth of experience under his belt.

"It makes the world of difference, just knowing what to expect, how to handle everything, feeling part of the group, knowing everybody and knowing your surroundings," Islanders center John Tavares said prior to his club's game against the Bruins on Monday. "You just learn about the game and what makes you successful out there and what you have to do to get better. Especially for him, he came into a real good team and learned what it takes to win and the good habits that their team has. That's certainly helped him for sure."

Tavares didn't get the benefit of joining a Cup contender with an Islanders team that's missed the playoffs each of the past four years, but he can relate to the pressures and expectations 2010 second overall pick Seguin has faced in his young career and Tavares has been impressed by Seguin's quick maturation.

"To win a Stanley Cup in your first year, that's pretty unheard of and it definitely will teach you a lot and help you grow as a person and as a player," said Tavares, the first overall pick of the 2009 draft. "He was a great player all the way up through junior and now he's showing why going to be a really good player up here for a while."

Tavares got his first look at the new and improved Seguin on Monday night, but Seguin's teammates have seen the development in his game since before the start of the season.

"Just his confidence coming not only into camp, but the skating before that [at captain's practices], you could just see the confidence in his stride," Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "He was loose handling the puck. He's not shying away from it anymore. He just takes the lanes and takes it to the net. He's been really good for us."

Bruins coach Claude Julien was often criticized for bringing Seguin along so slowly last year, but that conservative approach is certainly paying off now. But Julien is also quick to praise his pupil, who took advantage of learning opportunities presented him last season and came into this year prepared to take on a more prominent role.

"Yeah, so much credit goes to him," Julien said. "Because as much as we've tried to teach him, he's just kind of bought in big time and believes in it. He wants to be that kind of player. We all know he's great offensively, but he wants more than that. He also wants to be reliable. As much as people say let him play his game, we do. But he wants to be more than that. He wants to make sure that in his own end he's solid. He takes pride in that. He wants to be part of that group and so that's why I say a lot of credit goes to him. Not everybody wants to do that. He does."

Seguin has been solid all season long, but his play has really taken off in the last few games since he's been skating on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Bergeron, in particular, has been an excellent influence on Seguin as he continues to work on developing his all-around game.

"Bergy's a great two-way player," Julien said. "Offensively he's good but defensively he's one of the better players around the league that way and Tyler, to play on his line, a lot of times has to play against other team's big lines. He wants to stay with them and he wants to play with them so he wants to be reliable that way as well, so it's forcing him to be a good two-way player. And Patrice is probably one of our hardest workers anyway, so in order to stay and keep up with Bergy, you got to be a hard worker and that's just forcing him to work hard both ways and it's just making him a better player."

It's not all a one-way street though, as skating with Seguin also gives Bergeron (4-7-11 in 13 games) a chance to be more productive offensively.

"As for Bergy, having a guy like [Seguin] that when you give him the puck, you know there's a pretty good chance it's going to end up in the back of the net," Julien said. "So it's certainly helping [Bergeron] offensively where he's, throughout the years, he hasn't always had that luxury and he's played with hard-working guys but you know at the end of the night, you saw all their work that they've done in the offensive zone but weren't always rewarded. But he's got a good chance right now to have a player that's going to help him in that area."

Bergeron isn't the only Bruin who enjoys being on the ice with Seguin. Even the defensemen are eager to get out there when that line is playing in the hopes of padding their own stats.

"You just hope to be out there with them, then you'd be all set," Seidenberg said. "You get [offensive] zone time and hopefully points that way. Bergy seems to jell with everybody he plays with and he's so smart out there. He definitely supports Siggy on the ice and he feeds him the puck where it needs to be. They both definitely make each other better."

Seguin believes that line has only scratched the surface of what it can do together.

"I think we're, if we're not on the same page we're getting pretty close," Seguin said. "Marshy [Marchand] and Bergy have great chemistry right from last year, and I'm just trying to find my way in there, trying to figure out their style of game. It's one thing watching on film, on the bench or from up in the stands, but it's another thing being out there. So I'm still trying to find my groove at that."

If this is what Seguin can do without finding his groove, the rest of the league had really better pay attention to the Bruins' emerging star.

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