Bruins

Symbolic kneeling shows Tyler Seguin has grown up since his Bruins days

Bruins

When Tyler Seguin was traded away from the Bruins a little more than seven years ago, the 21-year-old was looked at as a stunningly talented young hockey player desperately in need of growing up a bit.

Seguin became an All-Star forward and a Stanley Cup champ in his three seasons in Boston and it seemed like he was on the verge of a partnership with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in what could have been a Perfection Line in their own right.

But it wasn’t mean to be for Seguin and it was determined a change of scenery was required for him if he was ever going to reach his vast potential. And the Bruins couldn’t wait for that development time to happen immediately coming off a Stanley Cup Final appearance with lofty visions of return trips fresh in their minds.

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The Bruins clearly made a mistake settling for the package from Dallas instead of holding out for first-round picks and Grade-A prospects when dealing away their 21-year-old winger on the verge of superstardom.  

As it turns out, the Bruins would dip out of the playoffs within the next few seasons while aging and slowing down, and they wouldn’t replace Seguin’s game-breaking abilities until right winger David Pastrnak ascended a couple of seasons ago. Seguin went on to mature and put up numbers with the Stars over the last seven years, but it was impossible from afar to tell just how much he had matured into a true professional on and off the ice.

 

In the last few months, though, Seguin has shown that he’s grown and matured as a human being quite a bit in those seven years.

It all started in the days following the pause to the 2019-20 NHL regular season when the Bruins hosted a team-wide Zoom reunion of the 2011 Stanley Cup team on YouTube to watch a replay of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final vs. the Canucks in Vancouver. It wasn’t exactly an amicable divorce between the Bruins and Seguin, so it showed some level of emotional maturity for the Stars winger to sit on the Zoom call and reminisce with his former teammates.

But it’s been the last few months that have really put on display how much Seguin has evolved as a player and a person on and off the ice.

Seguin was one of the more involved NHL players in the days following the George Floyd murder when he attended Black Lives Matter protests in Dallas and made certain to use his large social media platform to call for social change.

It was his attendance at the BLM protests in Dallas that left an impression with Vegas Golden Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves, who intended to take a knee prior to Monday night’s round robin game between Vegas and Dallas.

Reaves approached Seguin during warm-ups prior to Monday night’s game and let him know what he intended to do, and asked Seguin if he wanted to join him in taking a knee. Seguin agreed to kneel, informed his Stars teammates prior to puck drop and had Stars teammate Jason Dickinson join Reaves and Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner as well in kneeling during both the U.S. and Canadian anthems.

It was a noteworthy NHL moment after Minnesota Wild D-man Matthew Dumba had spoken eloquently and taken a knee just a couple of days prior, and it was a defining moment for Seguin as a player showing what he’s made of as a human being. Seguin wanted to make sure that Reaves — and any other minority players in the NHL — knew that they had his full support, and that kind of thing is powerfully meaningful and influential when it comes from star players across the NHL.

“It’s a big issue that needs to be addressed,” said Seguin following the game. “It’s something that we [Seguin and Dickinson] clearly both believe in. I think tonight was a statement from us with what our actions were. I don’t know if we’re going to do that every night. If there are other guys on other teams or other black players that are doing something, we’ll always give our support. That was our statement tonight.”

 

It was a statement that many — including Bruins players like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara — have made in the last few months while putting unmistakable words and actions together to educate themselves about the systemic issues in America while showing support for equal treatment and social justice.

None of it was wrapped up in exasperating politics or some false narrative that anybody taking a knee was disrespecting the flag, the police or the U.S. armed forces. Instead, it was the right of free citizens to peacefully protest racism, social injustices and system inequality that’s gone on in the United States for far too long.

In the same breath, it was also an impressive example of a 28-year-old Seguin who's matured into a force for good, and somebody who learned lessons from his carefree, partying days in Boston when success came a little too easily and quickly than it probably should have.