April 9, 2011: Senators v. Bruins and Seguin: chicken or the egg?
Old-school Sens. Mid-90s style. The way I like to remember it.
Today marks the final game at home in Boston of the Bruins regular season. It’s a fine matinee with Ottawa before wrapping up against the Devils in Newark tomorrow. Of all the teams in the Northeast division, the Senators truly inspire the least emotion in me. Getting amped for a game against Toronto, Montreal and even Buffalo is rather easy. Ottawa…not so much. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case here. I can’t put my finger on why the that is. Perhaps it’s Ottawa’s identity as a bland-seat-government type city. I’ve never been, but this is what I imagine it to be like. Or perhaps it’s the fact the team is relatively new as compared with the others in the division. And perhaps the team, save for tough-guy Chris Neil, lacks a true antagonist or focus for the team. I enjoy afternoon games, nevertheless, and this is no different.
The latest and greatest breaking news from the Bs on Twitter indicate that Tim Thomas is in net, Seidenberg and Bergeron will get the rest, with Hnidy and Seguin filling in. I am most interested to see how Seguin fits playing center on the second line. This is something that hasn’t occurred in about five months. I realize it’s a sort of “throwaway” game, but, I am interested to see what sort of progress Seguin has made. He’s been the focus of attention of late, with folks questioning whether he’ll be benched for the start of the playoffs. This seems likely. But, in the kid’s defense, not only is it his first year, but, he’s been bounced between lines and from wing to center and back again somewhere around 50 times this season. He didn’t have the opportunity to develop chemistry with any line-mates or become comfortable in any given role. I don’t think this will stunt his development long-term, but I do think it set him back this year. He’s a defensive liability, certainly, but, his offensive acumen was only granted the slightest windows for display. It is a chicken or the egg dilemma, also. Does Seguin score to get more ice-time, or does more ice-time result in Seguin scoring? Of all forwards, he probably had some of the lowest TOI stats all season. The fact he was able to produce 11 goals at all with such ice-time might be a testament even to his skill and perseverance. But, going forward, he needs to be managed carefully. The Boston media is all aflutter from what I take it with questions of what Chiarelli and Julien will do with him. In the long run, it’s not important. Even if benched at the start of round one, he will see playing time, eventually. The pressure of the playoffs, the intensity of the practices–both these things will harden and wizen him in ways that another year in major junior couldn’t. He may appear to be struggling, but, on the inside, for a kid that’s 19, it’s just about being there.
The kid’s going to be okay.