Last June's No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin has not seen the ice for the Boston Bruins since their season-ending game against the New Jersey Devils on April 10. Since then, instead of tossing on a black and gold jersey, he's waited for his chance while watching all 11 of Boston's playoff games from the press box as it marched to its first Eastern Conference final since 1992.
When Patrice Bergeron left Game 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers with what was later diagnosed as a "mild" concussion, opportunity knocked and Seguin will finally get his chance to contribute to the Bruins' playoff run.
Seguin was on the right wing Tuesday morning alongside Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder as Chris Kelly was bumped up into Bergeron's spot on the second line.
While he's watched a lot of hockey of late, Seguin has also participated in the Bruins' pregame skates in order to learn how to be prepared for the playoffs as he told CSN New England's Joe Haggerty:
"You don't know what's going to happen to [Bergeron] . . . It's a hard mental and emotional state to a get a grasp on, but it was an unfortunate bounce that happens in the game of hockey. It was my job to stay physically and mentally ready, and I've been able to do it. I've been working hard and trying to keep as sharp as I can. Over the last week I've been feeling as good as I have in a long time."
Bergeron is still dealing with the concussion, but he was at TD Garden on Tuesday morning and according to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, he's doing "better."
Seguin won't be expected to contribute at the level Bergeron was before the injury, but playing the best hockey of his rookie year over the final month of the regular season should give him enough confidence to be an asset for the Bruins. There's no timetable for Bergeron's return, and given that it was his third career concussion he suffered, Seguin will likely get an extended opportunity to help make a difference in his absence.