EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 15, 2013

It's Tyler time

Seguin must step up for the B's to win the Stanley Cup

On Pro Hockey
Bill Burt

---- — He has been under the radar — dodging serious scrutiny — for much of the most disappointing season of his hockey life.

Tyler Seguin got his $6 million-a-year deal, which kicks in next October, and he hasn’t nearly approached expectations. But because of guys like Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, Milan Lucic, his good friend Brad Marchand and more, all of whom have raised their games to Stanley Cup-hoisting levels, the Bruins’ version of the Can’t Miss Kid has quietly gone about his business of missing.

But that insulation surrounding Seguin may have disappeared going forward, despite the fact we are reminded often that is only 21-years-old.

Now, with the injury to one of the hottest Bruins players since May 1, Nathan Horton, Seguin could move from the Bruins worst line — the third line with Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly — to the best in the world with Krejci and Lucic.

All of the hockey world’s eyes are on Horton’s replacement, be it a short or long term fix.

Maybe this is what Seguin has needed all along, a little pressure ... or make that, a lot of pressure.

According to hockey experts, Seguin’s game has risen recently, despite the no-goals-and-no-assists stats lines we’ve become accustomed to.

He is getting off more shots, some really close. And his pass to Kaspars Daugavins — the guy wearing No. 16 on Wednesday night — in the third overtime, which if redirected would have ended Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in the Bruins favor, might have been the play of the game.

But it wasn’t and that’s the way hockey is played. A lucky bounce — see the winning goal in the third overtime — you’re a hero for a day.

By osmosis, Seguin will start getting on the stat sheet. That’s what happens when you play with Krejci and Lucic.

But that’s not enough any more this year.

If the Boston Bruins looked in a mirror they would see the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are as tough and Cup-driven as the Bruins are. Their fans, like the ones here in New England, are the same way.

Seguin has been given a reprieve; a chance to save his season and play a real role in winning a second Stanley Cup.

If Horton is lost for the rest of the playoffs, the Bruins chances of winning the Cup might hinge on Seguin.

The irony is that’s what the Bruins thought they were getting three years ago, a franchise player. At least that’s what the best of the best in hockey scouting said.

It’s time for Seguin to raise his game and time for people to quit using “age” as an excuse.

If you were listening to Jaromir Jagr recently, who hadn’t been to a Cup final since 1992, you realize there is no time like now. Take nothing for granted.

Seguin has a chance to make us forget the last four or five months (see Lucic) and remind us of what should be expected the next four or five years.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

Stanley Cup Finals schedule Game 1: Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3 (3 OT) Game 2: Tonight, at Chicago, 8 p.m. Game 3: Mon., at Boston, 8 p.m. Game 4: Wed., at Boston, 8 p.m. If necessary Game 5: Sat., June 22, at Chicago, 8 p.m. Game 6: Mon, June 24, at Boston, 8 p.m. Game 7: Wed, June 26, at Chicago, 8 p.m