Fate is a funny thing.
Believe in it or not, at times we can’t help but feel as if we were destined for something. Something great or something less than so. If fate hadn’t played out as it has for the Bruins’ Tyler Seguin over the last week, in a month’s time he could have been faced with a very different ending to his first season in the National Hockey League.
If the Bruins go on to win the Stanley Cup this year, the name Tyler Seguin will be etched into its polished metallic surface. His 74 games of regular season play are enough to meet the minimum required by the NHL to be amongst those forever commemorated on organized sports’ most storied trophy. He would take the Cup for a day, possibly bring it home to Brampton, Ontario, taking pictures with family and friends.
Through most of the first two rounds, Seguin’s personal fate was looking more and more like he would be watching time expire on wherever the Bruins Stanley Cup run ends from the press box, a healthy scratch throughout. While the rest of the Bruins meshed and battled through an all out war with Montreal, and steamrolled over the Flyers to redemption, Tyler did all he could, which was to take the experience in dressed in a suit and tie high above his teammates.
If Seguin never played a minute in these playoffs, it wouldn’t change the fact that he is an extremely talented hockey player and should have a very successful career ahead of him. But any player will tell you that you only get so many shots at Lord Stanley’s cup.
Through the first two rounds I couldn’t help but think of a situation where Seguin might win a Stanley Cup as a rookie, but the closest he get to the ice is dressing for warm ups. His name forever on the cup, but forever a reminder in his head that it somehow wasn’t his.
But fortunately this is not a fate Seguin has to worry about. On Saturday he will play his first career playoff game against the Tampa Bay Lighting, as they come to Boston for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Bruins coach Claude Julien had weathered a fan base calling for Seguin to play after the club went down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round.
“We need Tyler’s speed…We need to shake things up,” they said. Julien stuck to his guns and his lineup that prevailed.
Now, due to unfortunate circumstances, Seguin will as many demanded then, “get his chance” or finally be able to “prove himself.” Yet no fans or writers were calling his name last Friday when they dropped the puck on Game 4 against the Flyers. The only one calling his name was fate.
Very few young professional athletes fall into the echelon of having their jerseys fly off the racks before they have played a regular season game. Seguin is in this echelon. No doubt an extreme talent.
But what do we expect from Tyler? We knew he could be Mr. Right, but probably not Mr. Right now. A savior for down the road. More importantly, what does Tyler expect of himself?
“I want to go out there and not be afraid to make any mistakes and play confident,” explained Seguin
We can talk about pressure or what he has to prove, but I don’t feel that’s the case.
Seguin doesn’t have anything to prove. At least not in the eyes of yours truly. He is a 19-year-old who spent the majority of this year trying to find out where he stands in a league of men with weathered faces and toothless grins. His speed is second to none, and when he bursts his always-developing scoring touch has shown to be golden. He is also prone to a first timer’s mistakes. He is 19-year-old Tyler Seguin. We can start talking about what he has to prove when he’s 25-year-old Tyler Seguin.
Through 74 games he has shown us what he has. He wants to learn. He wants to help. Hes a competitor. He wants to play. Through this series or achievments and mistakes he wants to earn his way.
He is humble in these pursuits.
There have been a few times when after regular season games reporters have crowded around players who have lockers near Seguin’s. Often times the scrums overflow into other players spaces. While in one of these groups myself one day angling my recorder over a crowd, a small brush came to my side.
There was Tyler Seguin, the future of the Boston Bruins crawling on the floor under cameras,between legs and tripods, crouched down on his knees trying to make his way to his stall. On Wednesday, Tyler found himself yet again in a media scrum, but this time the cameras were on him.
“It feels like it’s draft day all over,” he said smiling.
If Seguin scores a goal in one of his games this series I wouldn’t be surprised. It wouldn’t shock me to see him miss a pass or be pushed off puck either. These plays will not be fate. They will be a 19-year-old getting the chance of a lifetime to earn his engraving.