Fan attendance, knowledge during Bruins development camp 'wows' Tyler Seguin

tylerseguindraftday.jpgWhile I don’t fault new hockey fans for struggling with the nuances of the game, it’s pretty easy to spot a newbie. Take a typical fantasy hockey draft, for insistence; you know someone isn’t fully aware when they draft Nikolai “Ka-bib-ulin” as one of their goalies.

Boston Bruins fans impressed their first round draft pick (and potential future star?) Tyler Seguin during the team’s development camp when an usually large number of fans showed up to the arena. captures the scene and some of the experiences of the young rookie-to-be.

Chants of “Say-gin, Say-gin,” echoed through the rink as the prospects and hopefuls took the ice each day, and got louder every time the 18-year-old phenom touched the puck or even stepped on the ice for a shift.

“I was surprised, and was like ‘Wow! This is a big crowd,'” Seguin said with a laugh. “It just shows this is a good market and there’s a lot of support here and the fans are great. Usually if anyone’s talking about me it’s like ‘Seguini’ or ‘Seegin’ or something. These guys, they have it right on point.”

Seguin was honored to have young Bruins fans paying homage to him and asking for autographs, but he didn’t expect any special treatment from the team or his fellow prospects.

“I thought it was pretty cool, a little kid saying my name,” he said of a youngster who greeted him the first day of camp. “Other than that, there’s no special treatment here. Everyone is treated fair. I don’t think it matters if you go first round or fifth round, everyone coming in here has the same opportunity to earn their spot and that’s just what I’m trying to do.”

(Eh, I’d say where you are drafted matters a little bit, but Seguin scores Typical Hockey Player Modesty points nonetheless.)

While the team is struggling to find salary cap sanity – and actually hasn’t officially signed Seguin yet, which is surprising considering the fact that rookies have a maximum salary in the NHL – the young center could help an offensively deprived Bruins team. I’m in the “Don’t panic with Marc Savard” camp because as long as he’s reasonably healthy, his contract is a steal. There’s no doubt that Boston needs to make a move, though, and it might just be Savard who gets traded.

If that happens, Seguin will have plenty of pressure on him, but the young player is saying all the right things at the moment. Frankly, I think Bruins fans have every reason to be excited.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.