ANAHEIM – Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff didn’t care all that much about some of Tyler Seguin’s supposed off-ice shenanigans when his team acquired the young sniper two years ago.
He knew a lot of Seguin’s skill set, which was prodigious and prolific.
“Tyler has elite speed and an elite shot, maybe an elite one-timer,” Ruff said.
In some ways, Seguin (who ranks sixth in the NHL in scoring with 77 points in 71 games) is the second player the Bruins ditched at a young age because they didn’t think he fit the makeup to play in Boston.
The first was Joe Thornton, which backfired initially on Boston – before the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara to help make up for that incredibly lopsided deal. Then there’s Seguin who has blossomed into a scoring ace for the Stars. Meanwhile Loui Eriksson, the guy acquired for Seguin, has not played to the level Boston hoped.
And with Seguin scoring at an elite pace (if he didn’t miss time with a knee injury, there’s a chance he’d have the outright NHL lead in scoring), it has made the trade look that much better for Dallas, and worse for Boston. In Seguin, the Stars have a rapidly maturing player both on and off the ice. He has embraced the Stars and seems intent on leading them for the next several years.
We sat down with Seguin at the Honda Center in advance of the Stars’ game at Anaheim on Wednesday night to talk about this season, his reputation in Boston, his charity and that hilarious Valentine’s Day punking of his mother.
Q: How hard was it to keep it together when you punk’d your mom for Valentine’s Day?
SEGUIN: I was pretty nervous, more nervous than I had been in a while to do that to my mom. I was more nervous to see if she was going to curse on air. It was definitely difficult to keep the story straight for 15-20 minutes before I had to tell her I was kidding.
One of the things you mentioned was that you’re only 23. I forgot how young you actually are.
I mean, mapping out my life, I didn’t see myself getting married this young. I still have a lot to do in my career. I thought she would mostly understand that, so I was a little surprised when she was supportive. But I guess that’s what moms do best.
How did the sketch come to fruition?
It was Cabbie (Richards’) idea. He said when he was doing the script he had me in mind, and asked if I thought Jamie would do it too. I said ‘sure, Jamie’s a bit more shy, but I’m sure he’d have no problem doing it,’ and it turned out good.
It’s been a strange year for you. Lots of personal success but the team success has lacked…
It has been a good, yet frustrating year. I thought I was having maybe my best year, then I ended up getting hurt.
It’s just I’ve never been in this position where I’m not in the playoffs. I’ve made playoffs every year in the league and playing in meaningless games like tonight is a new mental challenge but I’m trying to embrace it and do the best I can with it.
When you’ve had so much success at 23, does it make you complacent to a degree or want it more?
Yeah, I think it does make you hungrier. I know what it tastes like, winning, even if it was at a young age. I’ve been around teammates and teams that have that winning mentality and know what it’s like and feels like, and I’ve also been around Boston when we lost the Cup to Chicago with a few minutes left, so I know that feeling too. It’s a bit more younger guys (in Dallas) than my old team. But we’re building something here and I’m happy to be a part of it.
Does the end of season run for this team give hope for the future or make this year more disappointing?
It makes it frustrating, because we showed and can feel in here how we can play, and it’s too little too late so, it’s the frustrating part. But the positive is that everyone has felt what it’s like and how we can play. We went on a great run in March. We showed we could play good hockey. It’s showing we can do that from day one in training camp. That’s going to be the main focus this offseason and going into camp.
We still have a very young team compared to teams that are cup contenders right now. There’s still a lot of growth to be done. You have to be patient with the process and I believe in it. All the guys here believe in it and we have to stick with it.
Why has your game rounded out so well in Dallas?
I think it’s mixed with growing up in the league and playing more games, having more experience, getting a little bit older, I think it all comes together, and I’m happy to be in Dallas where it has come together a bit more and I think Lindy will be the first to tell you I have more work to do still, but I’m still learning and having fun with it.
There has been a lot said about you off the ice from your time in Boston. What do you feel about some of this talk?
I don’t know if I really care much anymore. I’ve embraced my life in Dallas and moved on from Boston and all that stuff that was being said about me. I think most people have as well. The only thing I can do is go out and play good hockey and leave my words on the ice.
I’ve talked about it so many times. I was a young player in a very sports driven city…
That talk probably hardens you a little bit, right?
It does, I mean it puts a bit of a chip on your shoulder. I’ve had that since I left Boston and it could be why my career has taken off a bit more personally, but I think a lot of it also has to do with growing up in the league, and learning new things.
Tell me about Seguin’s Stars. Seems like a good cause that you really care about. How did you decide to go about it and what has the response been like?
It’s a great thing I started when I first came to Dallas. I knew I wanted to do something. Around that time my close friend (Derek Moseychuk) had gotten into an accident and was a quadriplegic so, I thought it was a good idea to do it for paraplegics, which is a little less severe. So it’s mainly for people in wheelchairs or have gone through something tough. A lot of times it’s people who have never been to hockey games before. It’s exciting to see how they react to games. But basically Seguin’s Stars is these people come to games, sit in my suite I’ve purchased for the year. After the game we do a meet and greet, and they get to meet other players or coaches as well.
How does having a friend going through a paralysis situation change you as a person?
You always hear the expression that there’s more things in life than hockey, but that was one thing in my life that I felt I didn’t really care what was going on with hockey at the time.
I was always looking for a (charity) idea. It’s unfortunate how it all happened, but that was the idea that came to mind. I’m trying to start a golf tournament. I did my first one last summer for him and people like him and I’m going to keep doing that.
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