Learning the ropes
Seguin’s role up in the air
Rookie’s playoff status unclear
WILMINGTON — Bruins forward Tyler Seguin is learning the ins and outs of the NHL.
He blazed into training camp the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, showing speed, a wicked shot, and a little swagger.
Now the Bruins are two games from starting the playoffs, and Seguin, who has 11 goals and 11 assists in 72 games, is still unsure of his status. He was a healthy scratch Wednesday in the Bruins’ 3-2 victory over the Islanders, his seventh game spent in the press box. During a radio interview a few days ago, general manager Peter Chiarelli said Seguin’s game had “tailed off a bit.’’ As for Seguin sitting on the sideline for the playoffs, Chiarelli said, “That’s the way it looks to be trending right now.’’
But coach Claude Julien said there are still decisions to be made.
“That’s a lot of speculation that he’s fighting for [a position], whether he’s in, he’s out,’’ Julien said. “Understandably. I’m just saying, for me, those are tough questions to answer because you guys are all looking for what is my possible scenario. I’m going back to the same thing — we don’t know what’s going to happen until Monday. We’ll find out Monday where he stands and where the rest of the team stands. Lots of things can happen from here until then.’’
Julien said the Bruins will make their decisions after they know the identity of their first-round opponent.
“Even if we had made our decisions, I don’t think I’d be here speaking about it,’’ Julien said. “We got a couple of games left to play and we’ve got to go out there and play them. At this stage of the year, it’s not just the coach but the organization looking at the direction they want to take.’’
Seguin doesn’t have many options at this point; he works as hard as he can in practice, but if his name isn’t on the game roster, he can’t make an impression.
“I’m young, I’m still learning the game,’’ a composed Seguin said yesterday after the Bruins’ last regular-season practice at Ristuccia Arena. “Experience is still a key component.
“I think we’re always trying to make statements but I think I’ve got to get the chance to play to make that statement. But I’m working hard in practice and still working on all the little things and developing as a player.’’
Seguin said the scratches haven’t changed his approach.
“I’m just doing what I did before,’’ he said. “I’m going out there, trying to work my hardest and just trying to contribute to the team the best I can — whether it’s talking or anything like that if I’m not playing in the games. I just want to be a part of it as much as I can.’’
Forwards Daniel Paille and Michael Ryder want to be a part of it, too. After being a healthy scratch in three games, Paille has shown grit and jump in the last six games.
“I don’t want to feel too comfortable,’’ said Paille. “I’ve been in that situation before and it’s hurt me. It took me all season to get back to where I am now and I don’t want to lose that.’’
Ryder, a veteran winger and streaky scorer, has spent some time on the pine, too. He has played eight of the last 11 games, and looked sharper and more dangerous on offense.
Having options gives the Bruins insurance against injuries, but makes roster decisions difficult.
“You hope that the last impression of the last two games isn’t necessarily the deciding factor when you have 82 games,’’ said Julien. “You hope that you’re able to rely on the big package more than the small package. I think we’ve seen a lot out of everybody.’’
Juggling act Defenseman Steve Kampfer was assigned to Providence Wednesday, but he’s expected back next week. The Bruins have been carrying eight defensemen, and sending Kampfer down for the weekend gives the team a chance to get more ice time for Shane Hnidy.
“We still have Hnidy that hasn’t played much and we want [Kampfer] to play,’’ said Julien. “It may not be NHL caliber but playing still keeps you sharp so we’re trying to kill two birds, I guess, with one stone. If we can get Hnides here and him over there, then both guys are playing.’’
Saving his best? As is his custom, Julien would not discuss his goalie choices for the last two regular-season games (Ottawa today and New Jersey tomorrow), but it’s interesting that Tim Thomas leads the league with a .938 save percentage. Dominik Hasek holds the record for best save percentage in a season, .937 in 1998-99 for the Sabres.
Fan favorite Cheering during practice were kids from Adam McQuaid’s hometown of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Each time McQuaid skated near their spot by the glass, they chanted “A-dam! A-dam!’’ The kids play for the PEI Riptide, a youth hockey team participating in a tournament in Marlborough, and McQuaid spoke with them after practice. “They’re pretty excited,’’ he said.
McQuaid participated in “Cuts for a Cause,’’ getting his hair buzzed but leaving a mullet to stick out the back of his helmet.