Mini mailbag: Demands for Seguin so far off base in playoff series

Seguin/By S. Bradley

I knew by midway through last night’s Game 1 Bruins loss at TD Garden that the comment section of this blog and my email inbox would be filled with a certain theme.

Based on the Bruins’ inability to solve Montreal goaltender, everyone was going to want rookie Tyler Seguin in the lineup for Game 2.

Sure enough, there it was in email form from reader Steve:

Got in a heated debate with my friends about the lineup last night. I think Seguin should have been in because he would have created more quality scoring chances than Chris Kelly would. I understand their roles are different, but for Christ’s sake, this kid is supposed to be a cornerstone of the franchise … and he’s fast. Not saying the reason they lost is because he didn’t play, but I also think he should 100 percent play Saturday.

A lot of you have echoed these sentiments in one way or another, and some have even taken to the airwaves to vent on this issue to the local radio hosts.

Basically, I look at the Seguin situation like this: he’s Michael Bishop, only with a legitimate chance to be a star player in his league in the not-so-distant future. Seguin is the back-up quarterback. He’s better than what you’re seeing out there on the ice because you haven’t seen him out there enough.

If you actually watch his game and how he plays during his shifts, he’s not ready to play regularly in the NHL regular season let alone the playoffs. As everyone knows, the playoffs are a different world. Everyone, I mean everyone, hits. Everyone gets hit. Everyone forechecks, digs in the corners and skates straight ahead. There’s no gliding, no circling and no looking at the referee. Seguin hit once all season, in Toronto, and then rested on that as his season highlight.

Even on the rare occasion he got out on a break with an odd-man rush or a 1-on-1, he did nothing but fire easy shots on goal or shoot into the defender’s shin pad. He doesn’t bring creativity or any signs of determination.

The Bruins need more traffic in front and better aggression when rebounds come loose. Seguin only plays as though he’s allergic to those two factors.

There’s no way you can trust Tyler Seguin in a playoff game, even if your alternatives are Chris Kelly, Michael Ryder and Daniel Paille. Those are veteran players with a track record of playing, and producing, in the playoffs. It’s not their fault that they’re being asked to do too much within the flawed structure of the team general manager Peter Chiarelli built. Kelly is probably better as a fourth-line center, Ryder should probably have been shipped to the Providence (AHL) farm club months ago and Paille has found his niche on the fourth line.

We can all agree Seguin’s season would’ve been better suited to playing with the P-Bruins. But CBA rules prevented that. He was here to get in some game experience, but, more importantly, be around men and learn what the life of a pro is like while Mark Recchi and guys like that are still around to do some teaching.

Unless you don’t watch Seguin play and only believe what Chiarelli and Claude Julien tell you — because they can’t say anything else without shooting themselves in the foot — about his improved play and better engagement, you know in your heart of hearts that if the Bruins were going to make a move to insert a different forward, rugged rookie Jordan Caron or veteran Trent Whitfield would be a better choice than Seguin.

And that’s just the way it is. Seguin is not the answer.

 

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