There’s just something personal about the divorce between Tyler Seguin and the Boston Bruins.
An animosity that you can almost taste when you hear Boston’s brass discussing the youngster in the behind-the-scenes “Behind the B” documentary. When they talk about his unwillingness to go into the corners or take a hit to make a play, it feels like an assault on his character instead of his skill set.
When they snidely remark that his speed is useful until the playoffs, it doesn’t feel like a member of management dissecting a player’s abilities. It’s spoken with disdain and disappointment.
Boston felt that Seguin didn’t fit in with their tough guy mentality, so they traded him and his contract to the Dallas Stars over the summer for a stronger two-way player in Loui Eriksson. Eriksson has missed his last five games with a concussion, but seems poised to return soon.
Meanwhile, Seguin has been getting used to the new digs and is settling in nicely with the Stars.
It’s tough to watch the 21-year-old play and not feel like you’re finally watching an unburdened player out on the ice. No one is barking at him and asking him to be something that he’s not. Dallas accepted Seguin and his remarkable talents, and he’s repaid them with 15 points in his first 14 games.
There’s more where that came from though.
The power of acceptance is a palpable force. In Boston, Seguin wasn’t allowed to be himself. He wasn’t even allowed to play his natural position, which is center. He was bumped out of the top-six at the first sign of a slump and was replaced with an aging and ineffective Jaromir Jagr at the trade deadline.
The writing was perhaps on the wall at that point, but there’s no denying that the B’s weren’t willing to accept that Seguin was never going to be Milan Lucic. Forget all the rumblings about how his party lifestyle upset the team. That’s hogwash. Brad Marchand has the same kind of reputation off of the ice, yet he remains in the black and gold.
Seguin likely feels like a young 20-something returning for his high school reunion as he preps for a showdown with Boston. It was in that city that he faced his biggest trials as a young man, and it was that city that cast him out and tossed him under the bus before putting him on one that was headed for Texas.
With all that in mind, Seguin doesn’t have a thing to prove to the Bruins. Not tonight, and not ever. Boston treated him like some kind of Alexei Yashin clone and chastised him for his play out on the ice. Which is odd considering Seguin would currently be leading the B’s in points.
The team’s brass will try to lead you to believe that the trade was more about “fit” and less about points, which is their way of implying
that Seguin couldn’t hang in Boston’s winning culture. That shouldn’t be bad news for the kid though. He gets a chance to help build a new winning culture in Dallas.
With the Stars, he’s part of the solution and tonight he gets to show what he can do without the weight of Lucic’s shadow hanging over him. At least in a metaphorical sense. There’s no doubt that everyone on the big and bad Bruins will take a run at Seguin if they can. That’s the culture there.
That culture the chewed Seguin up and spit him out, only to see him set a pace for new career highs in ever statistical category that matters.