Seguin has sage words of advice for Dougie Hamilton


Seguin has sage words of advice for Dougie Hamilton

BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara has been remarkable in his praise of cant miss 19-year-old defenseman prospect Dougie Hamilton.
Theres a natural kinship, of course, between the big man blueliners with the 6-foot-9 Chara observing the 6-foot-5 Hamilton go about his business on the ice and embark on the natural development path his career will take.
The Bruins captain and Norris Trophy winning defenseman has already said that Hamilton is way better than where Chara was in his teenage years. It took Chara years of experience and coaching to learn how to utilize the strengths of the NHLs biggest body while minimizing the weaknesses.
Perhaps the difference between the two backgrounds isnt surprising given that one was a third round project out of Slovakia and the other is a top-10 draft pick with elite World Junior credentials.
Even so, Chara will be Hamiltons biggest on-ice role model to emulate in a hockey apprenticeship thats expected to last much longer than just the youngsters 2013 rookie season.
Its pretty clear that the 6-foot-9 Chara has the youngsters attention.
You can see how Chara is out there, said Hamilton. I dont get the chance to watch too much NHL hockey when Im playing, but when you watch him out there hes pretty sick. If I can learn from him and try to get better by watching him, Im going to do that as much as I can.
But the off ice times have changed for a young NHL player bursting onto the scene as a teenager a phenomenon that is happening more and more with each passing hockey season. There are Twitter, TMZ, and camera phones ready to document anything and everything that happens in the public eye.
Believe it or not Tyler Seguin becomes an important part of Hamiltons transition to the NHL at the tender age of 19 years old. Hes the closest to Hamilton age-wise on the Bruins roster, and Seguin knows what its like to be the Black and Golden boy prospect sure to be subject to suffocating scrutiny in an already challenging rookie NHL season.
Seguin had an up-and-down rookie campaign with 22 points and a minus-4 in 74 games, and found himself a healthy scratch at points when he wound up in Claude Juliens doghouse.
The trajectory of inconsistent play amid lofty expectations should be the same for Hamilton, who is being given power play looks during early camp practices and has been paired with Dennis Seidenberg. But the learning curve for a young NHL defensemen can be lengthy, and filled with teaching moments on the ice that dont always come from success.
So what is Seguins best advice to Hamilton as he goes through the same coming of age experience as the 2010 No. 2 overall pick did jumping from the OHL to the NHL two years ago?
Im sure Ill sit down and talk to him, but hes just got to have fun with the first experience stepping into an NHL team. When you first get into this league youre going to be a little bit in awe, and you just need to figure out where you fit on the team and how your game translates to this league, said Seguin, who blossomed into an All-Star performer and the Bs leading scorer in his second NHL season. You also have to have your ears open all the time, though.
There is so much learning that hes going to have to experience. Ill talk to him about it, but he just has to be open to it all and accept any young rookie hazing he might get. Its part of the journey and its a lot of fun.
Seguin said that for him the biggest adjustments were more off ice than on it: instead of skating on the OHL where guys are looking to get drafted or hook on with a college program, the NHL was full of grown men looking to treat the game like the multi-billion dollar business that it is. That meant treating it with the same discipline that you would any job in any walk of life.
It was boys to men. Guys here have kids and families and theyre fighting for their jobs and their lives. When youre at the junior level youre just fighting to get here, said Seguin. Its a different experience both on and off ice. Its the big leagues. Youre playing for your family or whatever, but youre also playing for an entire city rather than a small junior hockey town.
People are going to be talking about you all the time, and talking to you when they see you in the street. Theyre going to love you when youre doing well, and when youre not theyre going to tell you about it. Its a lot to take in, but its quite an honor. If I was him I wouldnt worry about what anybody was saying about him because guys like you in the media are going to be saying he needs to do this or that. Id tell him to delete his twitter account for the first little bit that hes in the NHL and not even look at it.
Thats probably sage advice for a teenager that will have enough on his plate in an abbreviated 48-game NHL schedule without worrying whats being said about him good or bad in the realm of social media. The Seguin orientation program for Dougie Hamilton continued on Monday night as No. 19 and Brad Marchand squired the rookie defenseman out to a Boston Celtics game at TD Garden with courtside seats, of course.
Perhaps Seguin even passed on some of those wise words of experience from his event-filled first two NHL seasons, so Hamilton can learn from the franchise forwards missteps and triumphs during that time.
Those would seem to be the first signs of true leadership shown from a maturing Seguin in his third NHL season, and one of the first real moments between two youngsters that will be the pillars of the Black and Gold franchise for years to come.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"


Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game. 

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0


Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve , the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron JudgeGary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."