Celtics

Seguin fits right in with Krejci

652052.jpg

Seguin fits right in with Krejci

BOSTON -- You're Tyler Seguin. You're 20 years old. You've just been told that you're being moved from the line that has helped bring you so much success in your break-out, All-Star season.

Life could be worse. It's not too often that you'd welcome that line change, unless you're joining forces with David Krejci.

And that's not a knock on Patrice Bergeron. Not even close.

Bergeron had helped Seguin notch 20 goals in 60 games this season heading into Thursday night's game with the New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden. And Seguin loves playing with him and speedy winger Brad Marchand.

So being excited to find out that he'd be moving from that line to a line with Krejci and Milan Lucic had nothing to do with wanting to distance himself from the others.

And that's what Seguin was. He was excited to be teaming up with Krejci and Lucic. He said it gave him a spark.

Seguin found out via text message. After the morning skate, Seguin was upstairs at the TD Garden when his phone went off. It was Lucic. The text read, "Lets go tonight, bud."

He figured that meant he was playing with Lucic and Krejci. Then he got the confirmation when he walked into the dressing room later that afternoon.

"I don't know if I was too surprised," said Seguin after Thursday night's 4-3 overtime win over the Devils. "Obviously I love playing with Bergeron and Marchand. I've kind of been with them all year."

Playing with either Bergeron or Krejci, ultimately, as a skilled winger with speed, you can't lose. But it's certainly different.

Both Bergeron and Krejci are playmakers, great ones at that. But it's a different style of playmaking.

Doesn't make sense? Let Seguin describe.

"Bergy's pretty fast and he's got a lot of skill, so he can dish the puck. But Krejci, I think, is different from Bergy, where he really slows the game down a little bit more," said Seguin after Thursday's win.

"In the end, both are good. I thought Marshy and Bergy and I always used our speed. And then with Krejci, when he's got a power forward like Lucic and me with some speed, I think it works out well."

Bergeron is more blue-collar. He likes to work in the corners. He wins battles along the boards and finds his wingers in open ice.

Krejci is more wizardly. He likes to slow the play down to his speed, even on the rush. He steps over the blue line, stops just above the half-wall, and finds his wingers in open ice.

Both styles work. But for someone like Seguin, your eyes light up when you get to play with someone like Krejci.

"There were a couple plays tonight where Krejci's about to get the puck, and I'm in an area where I know I can get it, and he doesn't even make eye contact with me, nothing," said Seguin. "And then he gets me the puck. That's just kind of the player that he is.

"There was a time in overtime, where, at the beginning of overtime, he got the puck in the slot and just tapped it back to me, and I was surprised, because I don't even think he looked at me," added Seguin, in awe of Krejci's finesse talent with the puck. "But I know that's the type of player that he is, and I know that I have to be ready for those opportunities."

Seguin finished Thursday's win with a goal and an assist and a plus-two rating. His goal was his first since Feb. 5 and snapped a 10-game scoring drought.

His assist came before his goal though, as he came up the right wing with speed, and dropped it back to the high slot to a trailing Krejci, who put it away to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead 1:13 into the game.

Seven minutes later, Seguin was the trailer on the rush, and scored on a shot from the top of the left circle, after receiving a pass from Lucic, giving the B's a 2-0 first-period lead.

"I saw Looch with the puck, going wide, and there's not too many guys that can catch him or take him down, so, I just tried to stay high and wait for the puck," said Seguin. "That's kind of an example of watching players and just learning from them, even if you're not playing with them, and bringing it into your game when you do play with them."

He'd never tell you, but it was like Seguin had been waiting for the opportunity to play with Krejci and Lucic. He watched from afar, and when called upon, he fit right in, right away.

"You could see it on the first goal," said Krejci. "Hes got a great vision and he found me basically wide open. Hes got a shot, hes got speed, vision, so he played a really strong game tonight."

Whether with Bergeron or Krejci, it's not bad to be Tyler Seguin.

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

MORE: 

 
And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

AFC EAST: Cutler hurt, Moore leads Dolphins to 31-28 comeback win over Jets

miami-dolphins-qb-matt-moore-102117.jpg

AFC EAST: Cutler hurt, Moore leads Dolphins to 31-28 comeback win over Jets

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Matt Moore replaced an injured Jay Cutler and threw two touchdown passes in the final 12 minutes, and the Miami Dolphins pulled off another comeback win by erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the New York Jets 31-28 on Sunday. Click here for more.