Quick thoughts on the game yesterday: we've been talking about Benn needing to "go beast mode" or "take over a game" for a bit now. Looks like we got our wish last night, eh? By the by, somebody send Anders Lindback a two-pound box of assorted See's chocolates. He failed to stop Taylor Hall on a breakaway, which is hardly criminal, but then he stopped six of eight in the shootout. Good to see him get a win on a night when the Stars seemed determined to drop a stinker in the weirdest arena in the league. But then again, this is always the way games at Rexall Place go, right?
And when is Travis Morin going to score? The guy seems to have "hockey IQ" oozing out the ears. Gross, yes, but it's a good thing. Same for Hemsky, who created one goal last night and could have had a couple himself. We need to see those guys start shooting and finding the net more.
Tyler Seguin was drafted number two overall in 2010, standing by helplessly as Good Young Canadian Boy Taylor Hall was snared by the Edmonton Singularity, a black hole of sorts that science and Anne Hathaway are still investigating. In case you ne'er-do-well kids don't remember anything because you were busy text-phoning your Scooby-Doo skateboard knapsacks, I'll refresh your memory: it was kind of a big deal. Would the Oilers take Taylor or Tyler? Center or Winger? Who do you build your franchise around? (Remember, this was back when people thought the Oilers could actually build things.) The discussion had something akin to the McDavid-or-Eichel hype we're hearing now, but with a much catchier name than Jack/Connor.
Well, fast forward to today (or "skip" or whatever your game gears do...and turn your hat back around, young man!) and Seguin has, in the eyes of every town sans Beanville, shown himself every bit worthy of that original discussion. The Stars are doing everything they can to build a contending team and franchise around the 22-year-old center. (Also, that is so young. When I was 22, I had never even so much as bought a Christmas tree or paid a water bill. Tyler Seguin is running charities and making lots of money that he has to then invest and junk. Be impressed by him.) However, that famous 2013 trade from Boston may have done more than just exhibit the Boston media's complete subjugation to the insipid whims of its sports franchises' smear campaigns. It might have made Seguin better, says Eric Duhatschek:
There is a temptation to measure performance strictly by the numbers, but Seguin says the larger issue for him was "a voice change" within himself.
"There’s just a maturing process that came with – I don’t want to say that getting traded helps you mature a little bit, but it was an eye opener," Seguin said in a lengthy one-on-one interview. "I matured as a player and a person last year. I was given the opportunity to be a top-end player on a team. I needed to play centre, which I was happy about, but I also needed to be a young leader. Dallas told me right from the get-go what they wanted from me and I wanted to fulfill that. I think I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m happy with how Year 1 went and looking forward to getting better."
One sign of Seguin’s increasing maturity is his ability to take a longer view of the hockey world. The plays he makes, to use a term he frequently drops, are "sick." But he is also in awe of the next generation coming in behind him.
"You’ve got to see what 15-year-olds today can do with their speed," Seguin said. "A lot of my close friends are agents and they’re always out scouting people, so I go out and watch a lot of games, too. After we got eliminated last year, I came home and a lot of those younger players were still playing in playoffs. You see how big they are, and how they’re training and how they’re already eating organic food at 15. When I look back to when I was 15, it wasn’t nearly as intense as it is now."
Seguin, incidentally, has finally reached the ripe old age of 22.
"It’s only getting better," he said. "You’ve heard about this [Connor] McDavid kid since he was 13. I skated with him like two years ago. The kids are getting so much better; and the game is getting so young and so fast. It makes you work hard every day just to keep your job." [Globe and Mail ]
I don't know about you, but I'm not naive about what most professional athletes are like. They spend their childhood getting used to being the absolute best wherever they play, and then they finally reach the NHL, where their stardom is reinforced through television, non-stop web coverage (hi guys!) and regular marriage proposals on Twitter. It's tough for most of them to look like your average citizen, and even tougher for them to show restraint and maturity in their personal lives and off time.
So, is Tyler Seguin running his local Kiwanis club? Not that I know of (yet). But his outlook and maturity are certainly encouraging for someone the Stars are counting on to lead the team both on and off the ice for the next few years and, we hope, beyond.
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Monday links utilize web technology to bring you other web-site things at the click of a button. You like that, don't you? Just sitting there, clicking away, seeing new stuff, reading about hockey and everything. Sounds pretty good to me, too.
Your Stepneski-certified recap from last night is here. Re-live the Lindback glory! [Stars]
And your less happily written recap by Copper 'n Blue is here. [CnB]
Read Mike Heika's excellent article on Jim Nill. There's a good nugget in there about how Nill disappeared for a few minutes right before the draft, then came back and everyone was like, "whoa." Seriously, it's good stuff here. [DMN]
Don't worry, the Texas Stars aren't being moved any time soon. [My Fox Austin]
Lindy Ruff doesn't yet trust Ryan Garbutt completely, thinks Hemsky still isn't going to "those" areas, and credits Oleksiak's AHL game and Ales's healthy scratches for those two players' recent improvements. Note: smart coaches will usually credit their recent moves (or management) when things go well. It's fair, since they get blamed pretty much all the time regardless, but that doesn't mean you have to agree with them. [DMN]
Mile High Hockey discusses who Colorado should trade in order to salvage a lost season for the Avs. [MHH]
Jannik Hansen should be "good" after his scary collapse on the bench over the weekend. He is slated to play in Vancouver's next game [Toronto Sun]
Check out the Ales Hemsky tribute video the Oilers played on their "big screen" last night. [Oilers Video]
Dennis Wideman scores goals just like Stamkos! Unfortunately, he chose the one Stamkos goal to mimic that results in your team being angry at you. Yep, it's an own goal on a delayed penalty. [Yahoo Sports]
Stephane Robidas took a hard hit in the waning seconds of Toronto's game Saturday, but he doesn't expect to miss any time. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Matt Niskanen thinks Pittsburgh's treatment of Dan Bylsma was [poopity-crud]. You tell 'em, Matt! [TribLive]
Word on the street is that 22 players have received a single warning for Diving/Embellishment from the league so far this year. One name that might (probably definitely) be on there is Evgeni Malkin. [SportsNet]
At 33 years of age, Rob Zepp won his NHL debut last night in overtime. Cool story here. [Philly.com]
Dallas Eakins could return to Toronto at some point, which would be a real "we'll hang on to him for whenever we decide to can Carlyle" move. [SportsNet]
When Ovechkin isn't being awesome to orphans, he's scoring goals like this: