BOSTON — The fans chanted “Thank you Kessel” during the Bruins’ 2-0 win over Toronto tonight, and after the game Tyler Seguin got to say thank you to general manager Peter Chiarelli and all the club’s brass.
The No. 2 overall pick in last June’s draft is sticking around for the season.
After Seguin scored one of Boston’s two goals against scoreless Phil Kessel and the Leafs, head coach Claude Julien called the rookie into his office to tell him that he could plan on being in Boston for the long haul. The Bruins had nine games to decide whether to keep Seguin around or send him back to Plymouth of the OHL. Because he’s only 18, there was no other option for the Bruins.
It took the team just seven games to announce its verdict. Technically, he could still be returned to his junior team, but the clock will start ticking on his entry-level deal as soon as he hits 10 games, so sending him back would make zero sense.
Here’s what Seguin had to say after the game and before he was informed of the great news:
The “Thank you Kessel” chant rained down from the upper deck after Seguin’s goal at 12:26 of the second period put the Bruins up, 2-0. It was the best spontaneous, pro-Bruins chant I have heard at the Garden in my five years on the beat.
For those who just started following the Bruins today, here’s a thumbnail explanation: Kessel was a restricted free agent, he wanted too much money, the Bruins traded him to Toronto for two first-round picks and one second-rounder, the Leafs went in the tank last year, the Bruins got the second overall pick and took Seguin.
Seguin admitted he had to do all he could to keep from laughing about the chant. Many of his teammates got a kick out of it too. Julien said he didn’t hear it live, but was informed about it afterwards. He explained the crowd’s decision to do that when asked:
“That’s what our fans are all about. They’re great fans, they support the people that are here and they taunt the people that were here and they’re gone.”
Kessel wasn’t amused.
“I could care less to tell you the truth,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to me one bit.”
The night was extra special for the Bruins’ hopes that the Kessel trade will always be a positive one in the franchise’s annals because not only did Seguin score, but Boston held Kessel off the score sheet. In seven games against the Bruins since departing, he has just one assist.
As long as things keep trending this way, Kessel will be the trade that keeps on giving because Jared Knight, the player Boston picked in the second round this year, looks like a future NHL forward. And Boston still has the Leafs’ ’11 first-rounder.
For now, all the Bruins have to show for the deal is Seguin — and now we know he’ll definitely be trying to make the trade a winner from a spot in the NHL lineup.