I tongue-and-cheeked it through my column on Tyler Seguin last night after Game 2.
Such is a product of being at the TD Garden for 13 hours straight.
But now that I’ve landed in Tampa, where the anticipation for Game 3 actually has pushed the temperature of the air to 80 — yes, the weather can actually be warm in May — I did want to go back and make a couple more serious points about what I witnessed.
•First, about Seguin. No one, not even this blog, ever said he stunk or didn’t have skills or shouldn’t ever play in the NHL. Based on how he lollygagged it through the regular season, however, he didn’t seem ready to take the next big step in his maturity.
Putting a 19-year-old kid with just 22 hits on his stat sheet into the fire of the playoffs when there were better options didn’t make a lot of sense. Let me remind you that the Bruins are in the conference final for the first time in 19 years.
When talk turns to whether Seguin was given a chance to earn more playing time and be a part of the postseason lineup, consider: from March 15 through the game of April 4 he skated on a line with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly, a trio similar to the one he skated on in Game 2 with Kelly and Michael Ryder.
Over that span of 11 games, he averaged 13 minutes per night. He scored one goal and was a minus-2. Does that sound like a case for more playing time? Even on the power play, who should he have replace with numbers like that?
But let’s look beyond the numbers. I think all of us, even the most irrational among us, would agree Mark Recchi is a sage observer of the game, a great leader and a solid thinker. If you’ve listened to his comments the last couple days about Seguin, there’s one recurring theme — “the kid’s competing.” Aha. There it is. He’s competing. That’s not something you say about a fellow athlete and teammate unless there was a time when he wasn’t competing. And that, ultimately, is why Seguin was out of the lineup.
Now he’s in, he’s playing like he never played in the regular season, and he’s doing it at the most important time — time that could turn out to be historic. Enjoy it.
But don’t say you predicted it or that Julien did anything to limit this kid’s development. And remember too, that one game does not a legend make.
•Real quick on the D, I’m not sure if I wrote this already, but that might’ve been the worst defensive performance from six defenseman in a game coached by Julien since he took over the Bruins — win or lose. Dennis Seidenberg was, as Julien likes to say, “a horse.” But the rest of them, including Zdeno Chara, looked like they were doing a tribute to the pre-Julien 2006-07 Bruins.
They have to get their acts together or the burns they return to Boston with won’t be from the sun. When they take a shot from the point, they can’t stand still and admire it. Almost every Tampa Bay breakaway in Game 2 was the result or a blocked shot and a forward blowing the zone. Do they not know that’s what the Lightning do? Do they suddenly want to play like the Washington Capitals?
Anyway, I’d expect a 1-0 or 2-1 game in Game 3 because both coaches will demand their defenses tighten up. And their resume tells you they will. But the Bruins’ defensemen will only be able to limit the Lightning by being a lot smarter and more on their toes.