Commentary

Tyler Seguin ready to power up

Updated: May 17, 2011, 9:54 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins' power play is lifeless. It's unsuccessful. It's downright pitiful.

Bruins coach Claude Julien has been trying to fix it and it appears he's going to give rookie Tyler Seguin a chance to breathe some life into the man-advantage.

Prior to the team's practice Monday morning at TD Garden in preparation for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Julien stood on the blue line and explained exactly what he wanted Seguin to do while working with the second power-play unit.

Julien has succumbed to the fact the power play needs a spark, and maybe Seguin is it.

"We want to make the power play work," Julien said. "And it's never a bad thing to have those guys go through it, and if at one point you need him, you need him."

With a 2-for-41 showing so far on the PP during the playoffs, the Bruins need something because special teams could decide this series.

When asked why he didn't insert Seguin onto the power play in Game 1, which was his first NHL playoff action, Julien said he wanted to give the 19-year-old a few "small chunks to bite on" and "work his way up."

Boston went 0-for-4 on the power play in Game 1.

"He hadn't played a playoff game yet, and you give him a little bit to chew, and then you give him maybe opportunities if need be in other areas," Julien said. "He's a young player that we care about and want to make sure that we develop him properly. And that's part of the decision we've made as an organization not to rush him through anything."

Julien pointed to the Philadelphia Flyers and the development of forward prospect James Van Riemsdyk.

"How good has he been this year? And yet he was a healthy scratch a lot of time last year and he's turned out to be a pretty good player," Julien said. "So everybody has an opportunity to develop their players the way they want, and we're doing that. And we understand the quality of player we've got and what he's going to be, what he can bring and what he's going to bring in the future. And those are part of the things we keep doing with him and we've done with him all year -- make him participate in all those areas where he's going to be hopefully a big factor for us in the future."

Maybe Seguin will be a factor in Game 2 if given the opportunity.

[+] EnlargeTyler Seguin
Steve Babineau/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe Bruins, just 2-for-41 on power plays this postseason, worked Tyler Seguin with their second power-play unit during Monday's practice.

There's still a chance Patrice Bergeron (concussion) returns to the lineup on Tuesday, and that could mean a seat on press level once again for Seguin. The Bruins would rather go with experience during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and that was evident in the first two rounds against the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

If Seguin does play, he will likely see time on the Bruins' second power-play unit. He said he could handle the opportunity.

"I've played on the power play pretty much my whole life, so I'm familiar with it and I definitely love it. It's a good time to use your speed and quickness," Seguin said.

Even though he spent hardly any time on the power-play unit this season, Seguin said he's learned in meetings what the team wants to do.

"I'm staying involved as much as I can," he said. "If I'm not playing, I just want to watch just in case. Anything can happen. Injuries are part of the game and I just want to be ready if the opportunity is there."

It can't get much worse than 2-for-41 on the power play, so giving Seguin a shot can't cause much harm.

Tampa Bay forward and budding superstar Steven Stamkos knows first-hand of the pressure of being a top prospect in the NHL. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft and he's been an integral part of the resurgence in Tampa.

When asked what kind of challenges Seguin faces if given the opportunity on the power play, Stamkos had some good advice.

"It's tough being in the playoffs," Stamkos said. "I got a taste of that this year, playing my first playoff game. You feel the nerves as much as you try not to. You feel that pressure. You feel the need to make plays and that's the feeling you have to have. You can't be scared to make those plays.

"He definitely wasn't scared to make plays last game. But as long as you get an opportunity and a chance, that's how you learn. You've got to be put in tough situations in order to know what to do next time."

The Bruins haven't put Seguin in many tough situations this season. His development has been deliberate. Now it's time to remove the reins and let him go.

"If I get put out there, I'll be ready," Seguin said. "I need to focus on my game because if I get the opportunity I want to capitalize on it."

Seguin's time on the power play, however, almost ended even before it began.

While the Bruins' special teams units were on the ice 15 minutes before Monday's practice in order to work on the power play and penalty kill, the players were just shooting around when Seguin took a one-timer and drilled teammate Milan Lucic square in the right foot. Lucic went down and was clearly in pain.

When Lucic finally got up, he was favoring his right side and made it over to the bench, where team trainers checked him out. Fortunately for Lucic, the Bruins and mostly Seguin, the hulking forward was fine and returned to practice.

"He said, 'I can't believe you one-timed that.' I one-timed it but it hit the top of his skate, so really it's only that much off the ice," Seguin said. "I apologized and he was laughing. Luckily it was Looch because he's pretty tough."

Lucic is tough, mentally and physically. If Seguin continues to play, he'll need the same demeanor, especially on the power play.

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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