January 26, 2011

Seguin gets another look down the middle

by Jesse Connolly

Bruins rookie forward Tyler Seguin. (Getty)

BOSTON -- With the All-Star break commencing after tonight's tilt against the Florida Panthers, the Bruins will have ample time to mull over how they plan on filling Marc Savard's spot in the lineup.

 On Monday night in Los Angeles, Tyler Seguin was the answer. Coach Claude Julien was asked about how the young forward fared in his first game back down the middle in quite some time, but couldn't hand out rave reviews given the results.

 "I don’t think we generated much offensively last game, so it’s hard to really judge a player when your whole team was a little bit flat in that area," said Julien.

"On that second goal that they scored, he over-backchecked a little bit, and that’s better than being lazy on the backcheck, right? So those are young mistakes that are things you can live with and you work with, but again he’s learning the game.

 "He’s fine, and he’s being given an opportunity and we have to give it to him and be a little bit patient in that area," Julien added. "And hopefully things start coming around for him. He’s got a couple of wingers that got some experience on each side of him so hopefully that’ll help him as well."

 Through his first 47 games, the No. 2 overall pick has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. However, he's been blanked in the last seven-straight contests.

 "He’s coming around," said Julien. "We keep saying he’s eighteen-years-old. "I don’t know what kind of progress certain people expect, but I think from us it’s him starting to get a little bit better. And the one thing is, he’s certainly understanding the game much better, and you hope that his talent kind of takes over and gets better as we move on here."

 The B's bench boss believes the stretch run will be far more difficult on the rookie.

 "As I mentioned last week, it’s going to get tougher because a lot of teams are battling for playoff spots and the second half is a bit more of a grind," Julien said. "He’s going to have to work through that as well."

 As for surviving in the interim without Savard, however that long that may prove to be, Julien knows his team was able to overcome his absence in the first 23 games of the season.

 "I think it’s a matter of us making sure we’re ready to battle through without him like we did before and like we’ve done in the past without (Patrice) Bergeron and those kind of guys," he said. "We’ve been through those situations before, and every team does. It builds character. I think it gives guys opportunities. I think a team can grow even more from those situations if it’s handled well."

 As for No. 91 himself, the B's concussed center won't be around to cheer his teammates on. He's already headed back home to Peterborough, Ontario to rest up.

"I think Peter (Chiarelli) mentioned I guess at some point this morning, he’s gone back home and he’s just gone there to rest and that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion," Julien said. "And we’ll take it from there. I don’t think there’s any daily, I guess, report we can give more than you got to give him some time."