BOSTON, MA – Peter Chiarelli said it best during his post-trade deadline press conference on Wednesday, while updating the condition of Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion on Tuesday night against Ottawa: The Bruins can’t replace him.
Tyler Seguin was given the opporunity to play in the middle with Bergeron out, centering Brad Marchand and newcomer Jaromir Jagr, who scored the Black & Gold’s only goal in their 1-0 win over the Devils on Thursday in front of 17,565 at TD Garden.
But, the 21-year-old, who played center throughout his junior career, learned just how tough it is to play the position in the NHL. While his line played well, Seguin had to adjust to playing down low in the defensive zone and was held to just one shot on goal.
Where the difference showed the most was in the face-off circle: Seguin won just two of eight draws.
“I don’t know what I finished,” said Seguin of his win-loss record in the dot. “I haven’t taken too many draws in the last few years. Obviously in juniors, I took almost all of them, especially the big ones, but it’s going to take some time.
“It’s one thing to go step out there and have one draw if Bergy gets kicked out. It’s another thing to be strategically doing certain things depending on what the other guy is doing.
“It’s going to take a while to get back into that and get more confident with that.”
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien was not disappointed with Seguin’s effort in the middle, saying he knows it will take time for Seguin to get used to playing the position.
“Tyler is obviously realizing, probably, how tough it is for Bergy to play that position, because playing in the D-zone, there’s a lot of territory to cover as a centerman and when pucks are going from one side to the other, he wasn’t always there,” explained Julien after the win.
“That’s the work in progress, and that’s what we expected, and that’s what he’s going to get used to,” added the B’s bench boss. “But overall, that line was fine. Again, you’ve got to remember there’s a Hall of Famer [Jagr] on that line with two young players, who were probably looking for him a bit too much versus making the plays or taking the shots like they should’ve. Hopefully, it will wear off and it will get better.”
Jagr, who said he needs to be better going forward, was playing with Seguin for the first time, and joked that he didn’t help out No. 19 much.
“Well, he had to play with me,” said Jagr, whose goal was the 680th of his career. “That’s another minus. He didn’t play much at center, plus he had to play with me. But they didn’t score against us.”
The overwhelming sentiment from Seguin and his linemates was that when Bergeron is out, you understand how much he brings to the team that much more.
“First shift I was like, ‘Bergy, I appreciate you a lot more right now,’” said Seguin, taking a step back. “I guess the first period I felt it a little bit more, but as the game progressed I felt like I could use my speed a little bit more.
“It’s one thing from being a centerman then going to the NHL, but it’s another thing going from center to wing in the NHL, and going back to center.
“So, it’s going to take some adjustment.”
Marchand, too, recognized how much Bergeron means to the Bruins, when the alternate captain wasn’t out on the ice against the Devils.
“Center is a very tough position,” said the winger, who assisted on Jagr’s goal. “Bergy is so good at it, so good defensively. You saw me and Segs struggling out there a little bit, but we know how great Bergy is. And we know how lucky we are to have him.”
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