Center of Attention

Monday, 11.04.2013 / 4:34 PM
Mark Stepneski

The Dallas Stars are in Boston and Stars center Tyler Seguin was the center of attention today as the team practiced in preparation for Tuesday night’s game against the Bruins.

Seguin, of course, was the centerpiece of the blockbuster deal between Dallas and Boston back in July and the media were out in force today to talk to Seguin about the trade, his time in Boston, his transition to playing with Dallas and Tuesday night’s tilt.

“I have no idea what to expect, but I am excited,” Seguin said about his first game against the Bruins since the trade. “I saw some of the guys when I got in yesterday and it’s going to be a cool experience.

“There were a lot of good memories here. It’s a good feeling coming here. I am not a part of Boston anymore, but it is always going to be a part of me, I’ll visit in the summer and it’s nice to be here again.”

The Stars acquired Seguin, forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Ryan Button from Boston in exchange for forwards Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser and defenseman Joe Morrow on July 4.

“I heard the rumors, as you guys did, around the draft and when the day came I wasn’t too surprised,” Seguin said. “Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it to happen that day or knew where I was going or anything, but it happened and here we are.

“They had their reasons. Whether you want to call it the cap, I don’t think you can put it on one particular reason. I’ve moved on and I am excited to be where I am.”

When the NHL schedule came out a couple weeks after the trade, this was a game that got circled on a lot of calendars.

“Obviously, I looked and knew when it was coming,” Seguin said prior to the Stars heading out on the trip. “It’s going to be nice to go back there because it was a place I called home for a few years and there’s a lot of history there for me personally. I am looking forward to it.”

Seguin, Boston’s first round pick (second overall) in 2010, spent three seasons with the Bruins, helping them win a Stanley Cup in 2011 and make it back to the Stanley Cup Final last season. Seguin said he’s still keeping tabs on the Bruins, as he does with other teams he has played with in his hockey career.

“I still keep up with the Plymouth Whalers highlights in the OHL and I don’t even know anyone on the team anymore so, yeah, I still keep up,” Seguin said. “I just always like looking back at where I played and see how everyone is doing. I have tons of close friends on that team, so I keep up.”

It’s been a bump start to the season for the Stars, who are 6-6-2 so far. It’s been the same for Seguin. He’s produced for the Stars on the offensive side of things, leading the team in goals (6) and points (15). There’s been an adjustment to playing center, especially in the faceoff circle, where he has struggled at times.

“I think his play for us has been real good,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Offensively he’s got good numbers, defensively he’s played well. I think there are areas we keep trying to improve. For playing center for the first time in a couple years, Tyler has done a nice job.”

“It’s been a huge adjustment,” Seguin said. “There are games where I am doing well at the position and some where I am not. It’s finding consistency and learn as I go.”

The 21-year-old Seguin had some ups and downs in Boston, but said he has learned from those experiences and thinks he is in a pretty good spot right now in Dallas.

“I feel like the player and the person I am today is not the same as when I was in Boston,” Seguin said. “I feel like I have improved and I have no limit on where I am going to go.”

Eriksson close to returning for Bruins

Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, the other big piece of that July trade, is close to returning from a concussion. Eriksson was injured when he was hit in the head by Buffalo forward John Scott on October 23.

Eriksson took contact in Monday’s practice and is a game day decision for Tuesday.

“I am feeling better,” Eriksson said after Monday’s practice. “I’ve been skating for a couple days now and the head is feeling better. I am feeling pretty good right now and we’ll see about tomorrow. I still have some testing to do.”

The NHL suspended Scott seven games for an illegal check to the head on Eriksson.

“I don’t remember the first two minutes after the hit,” Eriksson said. “I’ve seen the replay and it wasn’t the prettiest hit, but the league made the decision to suspend him for seven games. The league took a look at it, and it was a bad hit and I don’t have any more to say about that.”

Tracking the players involved the trade

Here’s an update on the seven players involved in the July 4 trade between the Stars and Bruins and how they’ve fared this season.

To Dallas:

C Tyler Seguin: Centering the top line for Dallas and leads the team in goals (6), is tied for the team lead in assists (9) and leads the team in points (15). Leads Dallas forwards in ice time per game at 18:45. Has struggled in the faceoff circle, winning just 61 of 165 (37 percent).

C/RW Rich Peverley: Didn’t play in the preseason and missed the season opener due to treatment for an irregular heartbeat. He’s played wing on the top line and wing and center on the third line. Has registered 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 13 games. Has won 58 of 100 (58 percent) of his faceoffs.

D Ryan Button: The 22-year-old defenseman is playing for Dallas’ ECHL affiliate in Idaho and has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in 6 games.

To Boston:

RW Loui Eriksson: The long-time Star had 2 goals, 1 assist in 8 games before suffering a concussion on an illegal hit from Buffalo’s John Scott on October 23. Just before he was injured, Eriksson was playing on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. In Monday’s practice Eriksson, who is questionable for Tuesday’s game, skated on Boston’s second line with Bergeron at center and Brad Marchand at left wing.

RW Reilly Smith: Dallas’ third round pick in 2009 has 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 13 games. Smith has moved around the Boston lineup, playing in the top six at times. In Monday’s practice he was skating on the third line with center Chris Kelly and left wing Carl Soderberg.

LW Matt Fraser: A free agent signing by the Stars out of the WHL in 2010 is playing with Boston’s AHL affiliate in Providence. He is tied for the team lead in goals with 6 through 10 games.

D Joe Morrow: He spent just a few months in the Dallas organization after being acquired from Pittsburgh in the March 24 Brenden Morrow deal. He’s playing with Providence of the AHL and leads the team’s defensemen in scoring with 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in 10 games.

The other Dallas-Boston trade

The Seguin trade wasn’t the only recent major trade between Dallas and Boston. Just before last season’s NHL trade deadline, the Stars sent Jaromir Jagr to Boston for a first round pick in 2013 and forwards Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne.

Jagr is now in New Jersey. MacDermid, of course, is on the Dallas roster. He’s been in and out of the lineup this season, and has 2 assists in 6 games.

The Stars used that first round pick (29th overall) to take forward Jason Dickinson, who has 19 points (6 goals, 13 assists) in 18 games with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.

Payne is playing for Saginaw of the OHL and has 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists) in 17 games.

Stars practice notes

Stars coach Lindy Ruff juggled his lines again for Monday’s practice in Monday, reuniting Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, and moving Valeri Nichushkin to the top line.

Here was Monday’s practice lineup, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:

Jamie BennTyler SeguinValeri Nichushkin

Ray WhitneyCody EakinAlex Chiasson

Rich PeverleyShawn HorcoffErik Cole

Antoine RousselVernon FiddlerRyan Garbutt

Lane MacDermid

Brenden DillonStephane Robidas

Trevor DaleySergei Gonchar

Alex GoligoskiJordie Benn

Kevin Connauton

Kari Lehtonen

Dan Ellis

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