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Kinder History: All in the head

May 18, 2011

Tyler Seguin shook hearts, minds and belief systems with his four-point effort in the second period last night at TD Garden.

Tyler Seguin handed in a two goal and two assist performance last night in messy 6-5 defeat of Tampa. For all the Seguinistas or Seguiniphants as they’re known at there, this game only proved one thing: the savior has arrived. I count myself among those more reluctant to put the rookie out there. But surely, his commendable showing last night has cast doubt across the fan-base and the media, myself included. Did something click? Did all the cumulative months of hard work create a create a sort of explosion? He was racing around in the first period, much like game one. He had giddy-up in those legs. But in the second period, something changed. He was reading games. There has never been the slightest doubt about his game technically–he has the speed, the shot, the passing abilities. He doesn’t yet have the strength, but it appears off-ice workouts during the first two rounds of these playoffs helped him considerably.

But it was the mental aspect of the game that was consistently questioned. That game together. All were in consensus that he had hockey sense, a strong hockey IQ and a cerebral touch. But he was anxious before, he was failing to read and assess and execute on plays in a timely manner.

All that said, something happen in Tyler Seguin’s brain last night. Synapses were firing when they should have been. Scoring two beautiful goals and providing two excellent assists in a single period is no small feat–in fact, he’s the only teenager in the history of the Stanley Cup playoffs to have done so. He picked apart and picked off defenders in a manner no Bruin is capable, save for perhaps Krejci. He matched his play to the circumstances in which he was playing. He had his mistakes, but they were rare.

The goal continues to be to see Bergeron return. But as is always the case, new stars blossom when others sit injured in the press box. Last night was Seguin’s moment. Six points in two games. A mean feat. He appears better than he ever did in any regular season game, even. Are the stakes higher because it’s the playoffs? Yes. Are the stakes lower because he’s a temporary plug-in? Maybe. But if anything can be said with any semblance of assuredness right now, it’s that bigger things lie ahead for Tyler Seguin.

For posterity’s sake, just what he did last night:

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