Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tyler Seguin answers crtics in positive way

By Larry Wigge

Why do you answer the same question ... with more questions?

Why on earth would the Boston Bruins trade Tyler Seguin at the peak of his career for center Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars for Loui Eriksson, plus prospects Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser, just three years after he was selected second overall in the draft in 2010? And why would the Bruins exchange such a top prospect who helped them win the Stanley Cup in his rookie season and take them all the way to the finals again in 2012-13?

Why indeed.

The Bruins questioned Seguin's toughness and enthusiasm for puck battles. He didn't fit in -- not with his jokes, or the tattoos, or the swagger that some in his generation of players bring and that doesn't always dovetail with hockey culture. More important, they questioned Tyler's character. He was immature. He drank too much, he partied too late, guards had to stand outside his hotel room to make sure he stayed in.

Jim Nill, the general manager of the Stars, looked at Seguin as the new face of the franchise. Dallas talked the positives about moving Tyler back to his primary center position from right wing, working on faceoffs and forming a great combination with Jamie Benn.

"He is exactly what we need," reasoned Nill. "To be able to get a player with his skill set, his talent, those are tough to find.

"He was a young guy. He just needed some guidance. Everybody needs some guidance."

Nill different have to talk about Seguin's intelligence, his terrific hockey sense, good stick, very underrated wrist shot.

Seguin asked for film of Benn to study, which impressed his new boss -- asking for homework.

"I don't want to be the next anything," Seguin said smartly. "I want to be the first Tyler Seguin."

"He is exactly what we need," reasoned Nill. "To be able to get a player with his skill set, his talent, those are tough to find."

Said Benn, "He's becoming a great centerman. We put a lot of pressure on him to be the best.

"I'm sure he puts a lot of pressure on himself. We need to lean on him. We need him to play a responsible game at both ends of the rink. We need him to be a leader."

There's obvious a lot of attention to detail in Dallas, something that wasn't there in Boston.

"He is young, we can't forget that," coach Lindy Ruff, who had to coach against Seguin and his Buffalo Sabres. "I'm asking an awful lot for a young player. For where he's at now, you'd think he was 26, 27.

"I like coaching him because he cares, he takes responsibility. Him and I just have this agreement that I'm going to keep pushing him ... and he's OK with that."

To other coach's he's the best ...

"The best shooter in the NHL right now -- the most-dangerous shooter," said Calgary coach Bob Hartley. "Gosh, sometimes, I wonder even if the puck touches his stick. Any kids watching the game, wanting to improve their shot, Tyler Seguin's the guy to watch right now."

The 6-1, 200-pounder from Brampton, Ontario, took his career to a different level in Dallas -- going from 11, 29 and 16 goals. With the Stars, Seguin has totaled 37 goals each of his first two seasons and has already tallied 23 goals and 27 assists.

He's third in the NHL with 50 points, shares second in goals. Seguin leads the league with 15 goals.

Seguin grew up with hockey in his blood. Paul, his father, suited up four years at the University of Vermont. And, Jackie, his mother played for a local team, the Brampton Canadettes, which his sisters played for as well.

Paul Seguin played at the University of Vermont, where he was the team captain and a roommate of future NHLer John LeClair. However, there was no comparison in the way father and son played the game.

"He was a fast defenseman who did a lot of fighting," Seguin recalled. "We're pretty much opposites that way."

No. 2 pick in the draft, behing Edmonton's Taylor Hall, bring great notoriety.

"Obviously every family has to make sacrifices for money," Seguin said. "They made that sacrifice to move, it was only an hour-and-a-half, but to move for my hockey ... There were a lot of little things, sacrifices they had to make, just for me to have a chance to chase my dream."

Overcoming ...

When he was in seventh grade, Seguin got cut from the basketball team. He still uses that as a tool to overcome obstacles that you face to get where you are.

Said Seguin, "I freely admit I wasn't very good ... I never forgot it. I never forgot that feeling. It motivates me."

Listen to his old teammates Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.

"He was first on pucks, he was hard on pucks, he was battling, he was doing all the little things that people don't always see, but are huge," said Bergeron. "I told him that was one of his best games all year. He was awesome. He was strong, he was hard to keep up with he was so fast. He really was doing a great job with his vision, his speed but also his battle level."

Recchi, one of Seguin's linemates and a Cup winner with Pittsburgh, Carolina and Boston, said, "You can grow at your pace and not have the world expected of you. I think it's a lot better that way. I think it's easier, obviously."

In the present, Seguin said, "It's just in the past now. I've moved on. I'm loving living in Dallas. I'm loving being a Dallas Star."

"I really think the sky is the limit for him," said newcomer Jason Spezza, who came over from Ottawa. "He's a competitive kid, an unbelievable talent. It's good that he's pushing himself."

Seguin is pushing himself ... and thriving.

"There are a lot of the same messages (as in Boston)," said Seguin. "Lindy is hard, if not harder, on me than Boston was.

"It's always about my two-way game. That's more of a responsibility, but with that comes more opportunity."

To Tyler Seguin, it isn't just a Taylor Hall comparison or a barometer of Jamie Benn and Seguin or Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff.

"Even though I had a lot of success in Boston, my time with the Bruins will likely always be defined by my exit," Seguin argued. "For the most part, I kept my mouth shut. I was certainly frustrated at being written off as a lost cause at 20 ... I decided to let my play on the ice with Dallas speak for itself.

"Winning that first Stanley Cup in Boston was a dream. Now winning one for Dallas is my goal."

Any more questions about Tyler Seguin.

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