Bruins

Seguin, Hall timezones apart, but forever linked

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Seguin, Hall timezones apart, but forever linked

BOSTON -- One might have guessed Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin would live vastly different rookie experiences last season.

Theres a world apart between their situations after the talented duo was selected by the Oilers and Bruins, respecitively, in the 2010 NHL Draft a little less than 16 months ago at the Staples Center.

Even the keenest hockey observer couldnt have guessed how extreme the twinsituations would be in reality last season, however. Hall finished the season on the shelf with an ankle injury after a productive campaign for a cellar-dwelling Oilers group long on unfulfilled potential, and Seguin ended the season hoisting the Cup over his head along with his Bruins teammates.

Hall was ahead of Seguin statistically based partially on the freely available ice time and power-play reps in Edmonton. Seguin was getting a priceless hockey education skating with a talented bunch of teammates and learning at the feet of the prospect whisperer, Mark Recchi, while Hall was akin to a babe in the woods.

Seguin couldnt have drawn it up any better, and frankly he doesnt want to.

I havent given too much thought into what would have happened if I were in Edmonton or if Hall had ended up in Boston, said Seguin. I think that its what was meant to be. He definitely had a great year last year, and I was blessed enough to win the Cup at the end of the year so I had a pretty good year, too. Were just two guys in two different hockey towns.

The two supremely talented teens will enjoytheir second career NHL match-up Thursday night when the improved Oil roll into TD Garden amidst a long East Coast road trip, and hockey observers will get a chance to see both players facing off against each other on solid footing for the first time.

One game wont prove anything about which player is better, or which one will have the more accomplishedcareer when theyre both ready to call it quits. But it certainly gives a healthy glimpse as to where each elite youngforwardstands after being so closely bunched together leading up to the 2010 Draft.

TSN and other Canadian media outlets had their fun with the TaylorTyler shtick, and Seguin even admits some people in Boston actually mistakenly call him Taylor Hall to this day. Cant imagine many of those people are diehard hockey fans, given the household name each member of the Black and Gold tribe has become in Boston over the last six months, but it does speak to the hoopla that will always connect both youngsterswhile they operate on opposite ends of North America.

It also speaks to how quickly things can change.

In April, Edmonton was crowing about Halls rookie production (22 goals and 42 points)while Seguin was in the background playing a secondary role that relegated him to nonfactor status on many regular seasonnights in Boston. It also saw him begin the postseason on the bench as a healthy scratch.But all that changed once the playoffs hit, and Seguin had his Game 2 explosion against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals that ploppedhim rightback on everybodys radar.

Seguin has 8 goals and 15 points for the Bruins in 13 games thus far in his second year, and has quickly become the focal point of Bostons offense. Seguin is also leading the NHL with a plus-11, and has gained the trust of coach Claude Julien in all game situations including the closing shift in one-goal games. Hall, meanwhile, has three goals and nine points along with a plus-3 in 13 games, and has tailed off slightlyin his last few contests according to Oilers coach Tom Renney.

More interestingly thesensitive Edmonton Oilers PR staff began shooing away reporters yesterday asking Hall about the TaylorTyler saga after onlya handful of questions in the 19-year-olds first trip to Boston. Nothing like professional PR people making a harmless situation seem troublesome, and in doing so bungling a media scrum like a first-year team out of the East Coast Hockey League.

But it does also speak to the attention both players received around the draft a bright spotlight Seguin still remembers along with the auto-pilot answers he harbored for any questions thrown his way about the rivalry between the two players.

It was crazy. It does seem like a long time ago. There are a lot of memories TaylorTyler thing that lasted in the media for four or five months, said Seguin. It was a long time ago, but its also something that you dont forget.

Hall, meanwhile, admitted that perhaps he was a little too uptight about all of the draft hoopla as it was going on, and plans on enjoying the challenge of playing Seguin and the Stanley Cup champs.

Perhaps thats why the Edmonton traveling staff still treats Hall like a hockey newborn when it comes to answering simple questions about a rivalry with Seguin that brings a littlecolor and popto the NHL.

We both did a pretty good job of handling that, said Hall while recalling the hype machine that surrounded both players vying to be the No. 1 overall pick. When I think back to the TylerTaylor' thing, I was a little bit stressed about it when I really shouldnt have been. Its just a stage in our careers.

It was a draft that picks where you go and you continue your career from there. I think weve both taken different paths . . . obviously in Seguin winning a Cup and us last year we were a lot different. But in the end its all going to work out.

While the chances are that it will work out for both young hockey stars and perhaps Hall along with The Nuge and Jordan Eberle will get the Cup back to Edmonton for the first time since the glory days of the Oilers it remains to be seen how things ultimatelywork out for the two young studs taken with those first two selections in the 2010 draft.

Thankfully there are plenty more young stars in the NHL galaxy for each of them to compare themselves with, and there isnt much more demand for the TaylorTyler soap opera to continue with the draft now firmly in the past. There will still surely be a little extra spring in the step of both talented forwards each time they suit up against each other for the next 15 years.That is part of Hall and Seguin's hockeylegacy whether they embrace it or not.

Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

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Bruins' Backes returns to ice after surgery for diverticulitis

BRIGHTON -- In a development that was certainly much sooner than originally anticipated, David Backes has returned to the ice just a matter of weeks after having 10 inches of colon removed during surgery for diverticulitis. It remains to be seen how gradual a process it will be for the 33-year-old to actually return to game action given his original timetable for recovery was eight weeks following the early November procedure, but it seems like it might end up being ahead of the two months Backes was initially expected to be sidelined. 

For his part, Backes was happy to be back skating with his teammates and pushing his recovering body after feeling pretty sluggish for the first few days following surgery. He confirmed he’d been skating for a couple of days while the team was on the West Coast, but Monday was his first team doing anything post-surgery with the rest of the team. 

“It’s good to be back with the guys and to be around the room, and to have seen the kind of resiliency that these guys showed on the road trip. The back half of the road trip was impressive,” said Backes, who has an assist in five games with the Bruins before succumbing to the surgery. “To be on the ice and moving around after sitting around doing nothing for too long where you don’t think you’re going to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it feels good. 

“The doc’s advice is that if it doesn’t hurt then I can keep moving forward and add more of a workload on, so that’s the update for today. It’s still non-contact, but we’ll keep moving along and hopefully I’ll be back doing what I love to do on a regular basis. I haven’t been notified that the timeline has changed at all, so I’m just going to keep putting in the work. The more I seem to do the work the better it is, and I seem to be able to do a little more each day. So those are all positive signs.”

For the Bruins it’s clearly a morale booster to see the big power forward back doing regular hockey activities, and serving notice that he’ll be bringing his size, strength, leadership and physicality back to a B’s team that definitely needs him. Clearly the return of another high-end forward would also immensely help a Bruins team that’s still very undermanned up front, but it would appear there will be some other B’s forwards getting back prior to Backes. 

Brad Marchand and Ryan Spooner appear poised to return to full practice on Tuesday with a possible return to the lineup not too far beyond that after all three injured forwards took part in Monday’s optional skate at Warrior Ice Arena. 

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Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton

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Morning Skate: Chiarelli taking heat in Edmonton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after a rough weekend for the Justice League movie. 

 

*Radko Gudas was suspended for 10 games after slashing at the head of Mathieu Perreault, and it’s an appropriate sentence for a play that has no place in the NHL, and from a player that really deserves to get slapped around by the Department of Player Safety. Some like the Hockey News here believe it should have been a more severe suspension, but this is the right move with a player that’s headed toward a Raffi Torres sentence the next time he crosses over the line. Let’s hope the message finally gets through to a dirty player, but I’m not holding my breath given his past history.  

 

*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is beginning to take some heat in Edmonton with a hockey team that’s performing way under expectations to this point. 

 

*All Alexander Radulov wanted was to feel like he was wanted, you guys. The Dallas Stars just so happened to say that to him in the form of money and contract years. 

 

*NHL.com does a Calder Trophy voting poll with their own staff and it looks like Clayton Keller is strongly in the lead, and that Charlie McAvoy isn’t getting nearly the mount of consideration that he should be getting right now. This is the only rookie averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, people…c’mon now. 

 

*It’s officially over for the Montreal Canadiens just a couple of months into the season, and it may be for GM Marc Bergevin as well. I’m not sure the Habs are dead and buried quite yet, but Carey Price as a question mark certainly doesn’t help matters. 

 

*Hall of Famers Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne were both honored in Anaheim this weekend after their Hockey Hall of Fame honors last weekend. 

 

*For something completely different: Here’s a petition for fans to get a home release of the Zack Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. These people thirsting for ponderous, bombastic drudgery in their comic book movies amazes me. While I feel for Snyder and his family given their tragedy over the last year, I think his movies are god-awful and can’t fathom why anybody would be pounding the table demanding to see a cut that left the DC and Warner Brothers execs running and screaming for Joss Whedon.