Battle of Boston rookies: Brad Marchand thrives while Tyler Seguin sits in Game 1

When the season began, many around the league expected that 2010 second overall selection Tyler Seguin would be able to thrive with the Bruins. After all, the Bruins were coming off a great playoff run and were looking to improve upon that. Adding one of the premiere prospects in the draft figured to be a huge boost to the Bruins lineup and give them an offensive jolt the team could use. On the flipside of that, Brad Marchand was a guy many outside of Boston likely had never heard of.

As the season rolled along, Marchand honed his game and became an invaluable contributor as a grind line forward and penalty killer with some scoring touch. Marchand finished the season with 21 goals and 20 assists while Seguin closed the season with 11 goals and 11 assists. Marchand became an instant villain for fans in Montreal when he voiced his thoughts on the Canadiens players about how they “run their mouths.”

Now with a playoff series between the two teams starting tonight, it’s Marchand getting to play a prominent role in the proceedings while Seguin watches the game from the press box. While many will want to read a lot into why Seguin is sitting out, coach Claude Julien looks at things practically. CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty gets the sensible take.

The scratch isn’t such a bad thing for the 19-year-old Seguin to sit and watch the playoff-level of intensity to start things off, but there’s a very good chance they’ll need him on the power play before it’s all said and done in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

“There’s no logic here,” Julien said. “I think it’s just we’ve got twenty guys in our line-up tonight that we feel is the line-up we want to go with.”

This isn’t like what happened with Phil Kessel years ago in the playoffs where he was benched for not meeting Julien’s expectations. Seguin had been seeing time out of the lineup to wrap up the season. He’ll learn from everything and he’ll eventually get his shot to play in these playoffs and certainly more in the future. Being humbled in this way will help him mature and hungrier when he does get in the lineup.

For now, it’s Marchand’s time to shine for the Bruins they’ll just hope that he thrives off the heat he’ll get from the fans in Montreal.

Report: Blue Jackets RFA Anderson in contact with Hockey Canada about 2018 Olympics

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The preseason is well underway and Josh Anderson is still without a contract.

Anderson, who scored 17 goals and 29 points last season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of two remaining restricted free agents without a new deal. The other is Andreas Athanasiou of the Detroit Red Wings.

While there were reports this summer about Athanasiou potentially going to the KHL for this season, John Shannon of Sportsnet reported on Thursday that Anderson’s representatives have reached out to Hockey Canada’s staff about the 2018 Olympics. 

Anderson’s entry-level contract, with an AAV of just over $894,000, expired at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, here is the latest on this ongoing contract situation.

Making an impression: Sergachev has ‘NHL written all over him’

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Mikhail Sergachev has, over the summer, stated his belief he can play in the NHL this season.

He had a small taste of NHL action last season, appearing in four games for Montreal — the team that selected him ninth overall in 2016 — before getting sent back to junior and then being traded in June to Tampa Bay, as part of a blockbuster involving Jonathan Drouin to the Habs.

Well, Sergachev made a statement Wednesday in his preseason debut for the Lightning.

He scored once. He also played more than 22 minutes, which led all Lightning players on the night. That included time on the power play and penalty kill. If he was looking to make a favorable impression, to show that he belongs at the NHL level when the regular season begins, this seems to be another step in that direction.

“You watch this kid skate, shoot, stickhandle, he’s got NHL written all over him,” Tampa Bay’s associate coach Rick Bowness told the Tampa Bay Times. “Now we’ve got to give him experience. How much can he handle?”

There is competition on the blue line, with eight defensemen under contract in Tampa Bay for this season. That includes Sergachev, who is still only 19 years old. After getting sent back to junior last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games with Windsor and then won the Memorial Cup that spring. That said, he’s made it a point of saying going back to junior “is not an option” for him.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Mikhail Sergachev

Report: Lupul will have ‘independent medical exam’

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Joffrey Lupul issued a statement Wednesday, saying he wouldn’t seek a second medical opinion after the Maple Leafs announced he didn’t pass his training camp physical.

A day later, reports have surfaced that the 33-year-old forward will, in fact, undergo another, independent medical test.

That is according to James Mirtle of The Athletic:

Earlier this week, Lupul made accusations against the Maple Leafs on Instagram.

“I’m ready … just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post, per a screen grab. “haha failed physical? They cheat. Everyone lets them.”

Lupul, who didn’t pass his physical for a second year in a row, issued an apology yesterday. But those comments — which have since been deleted — seem to have grabbed the attention of the league.

Darren Dreger of TSN added to that, saying it’s the NHL pursuing a second medical opinion on this matter.

“The National Hockey League has that right to pursue the second opinion. That’s exactly what they’re engaging in right now,” Dreger reported Thursday.

“The reasoning behind it is because of the comment that Lupul made on social media. I’ll go back a year ago. The league didn’t step in a year ago but Lupul stayed quiet at that point. So they want to make sure — ‘They’ being the National Hockey League — that the medical evaluation from the Toronto Maple Leafs is 100 per cent above the board.”

Team USA won’t include NHL draft-eligible prospects at 2018 Olympics

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) General manager Jim Johannson has ruled out the possibility of the U.S. men’s hockey team having NHL draft-eligible prospects competing at the Winter Olympics in February.

Johannson tells The Associated Press he doesn’t view anyone from the 18-and-younger pool of prospects capable of cracking the projected lineup of non-NHL players, many of whom are opening this season playing in Europe.

USA Hockey’s assistant executive director says he’s also targeting a number of established college players, and would not rule out keeping a spot or two open for members of the U.S. team competing at the World Junior Championships this winter.

Johansson spoke in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, where he is attending USA Hockey’s sixth annual All-American Prospects game. The game features the top 42 U.S.-born players eligible to be selected in the NHL draft in June.