The Bruins are in Dallas, facing off against a former Bruin who left the town quietly, but has since made considerable noise in his new city. Tyler Seguin has scored 21 goals with an equal number of assists for the Stars. He's well on his way to breaking personal bests for goals in a season (29) and points (67), both set in 2011-12.
There's two arguments one can construct from Seguin's rebirth in Dallas:
1. The Bruins were wrong to trade him, because look how well he's doing. The Bruins let a talented player go.
2. The Bruins were right to trade him, because look how well he's doing. The Bruins got rid of a player who wasn't living up to his potential.
I agree more with Argument #2. The fact that Seguin is doing so well in Dallas proves that he wasn't playing up to his potential in Boston. You can argue that the B's perhaps gave up on him too early. Then again he had three seasons to get with the program here. His on-ice performance showed no improvement. Actually the opposite. Especially in the playoffs. And his off-ice priorities were, in a word, selfish.
That's why he's a Dallas Star and not a Boston Bruin.
He still has talent. No doubt about that. That's why he's doing so well in Dallas. That's why he scored 29 goals and 38 assists in 2011-12. Talent isn't an issue for him. He has the potential to score 30-40 goals and add 50+ assists with the right linemates.
The issue with Seguin was how he deployed that talent, and how he failed to take full advantage of it. Strike that. He CHOSE not to take full advantage of it. He didn't put in the effort to be a Boston Bruin, he lacked confidence playing outside his comfort zone (which the playoffs require you to do), and didn't show a willingness to acknowledge and address the aspects of his game that needed attention.
Regular season performance wasn't an issue for Seguin. Although in 2012-13 he took a slight step back in production. He went from 29 goals and 67 points to 16 goals and 32 assists in a lockout shortened season. That's a pace for 28 goals and 54 points.
Then there's the playoffs...
A friend of mine pointed out that he scored some crucial goals in 2011 against Tampa Bay. And that's true. He scored in Game 1 and twice in Game 2. He also had 2 assists in Game 2. A great start to his postseason career.
His playoff production since then and overall, well, there isn't really any playoff production to speak of. In 42 career postseason games, about half a season, he's scored 6 goals with 12 assists. His playoff goal production was half of what his regular season production was for the Bruins (a goal every 3.6 games in his regular season Bruins career, a goal every 7 games in his playoff career).
He's played in 7 series and only scored a goal in 3 of them. In 4 series, including 2 Stanley Cup Finals, he's failed to score.
And in his last 40 playoff games he's managed to score a mere 3 goals with 9 assists. Twelve points. In 40 games.
Then you look at his off-ice priorities. I don't mind athletes having a good time. But Seguin was compulsive about it. And he seemed to get worse year after year. Maybe only what we heard got worse. Either way it showed no sign of improving, which mirrors his on-ice performance. Seguin needed a security guard to keep him in his hotel room during the Stanley Cup Finals. If he were scoring a goal a night, I wouldn't mind if he went out and drank 20 beers then hooked up with an entire Northeastern sorority. He wasn't doing his job in the playoffs yet he still wanted to celebrate.
Before all that there was the lockout. Most NHLers who played in European leagues went there to stay sharp and earn some cash. Seguin went there to binge. He chose the team and league his buddies were playing in. There were reports of him trashing rooms. And I'm sure he had his share of fun.
And I wouldn't have cared about that if he had returned to the Bruins and scored 20 regular season goals then 9 or 10 more in the playoffs. He didn't.
Maybe he's got his act together in Dallas. Maybe being traded was a wakeup call (something he's had trouble with in the past). Maybe the Bruins cut ties too soon. Then again they got decent players in return. Reilly Smith has 15 goals and 18 assists, already more points than Seguin had last year (in about the same number of games), and only needs to score once in the playoffs to match Seguin's total last season.
Seguin seems comfortable in Dallas. His problem up here was that winning requires you to go outside your comfort zone. And instead of being willing to risk discomfort in the pursuit of being a better hockey player, he'd prefer to go drinking with his male-groupie pals and bang some broads.
Good for you, Tyler. And good riddance.