On the inaugural Felger & Mazz broadcast in the new TD Garden studio, the crew was joined by Bruins president Cam Neely.
Considering Tyler Seguin was in the building with the Dallas Stars, the young center who’s tied for the NHL lead in points was obviously a topic of discussion.
“It’s understandable. I’m not surprised. Tyler’s having a fantastic year point-wise,” Neely said.
Felger asked Neely about Seguin’s recent comments, when he said that the Bruins gave up on him too soon.
“Listen, I felt the same way when I got traded [by the Canucks in 1986], so I can understand any player feeling that way,” Neely said.
Neely said that with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on the roster, the Bruins didn’t have room for Seguin to flourish at the center position. Neely said that being at his natural position is a major reason that Seguin is performing so well in Dallas, but the parts of Seguin’s game that the Bruins did not like have not changed a great deal.
“He’s a player that’s still gotta learn how to play at certain areas of the ice surface. Whether that comes or not, I can’t say, but he’s certainly … we all knew his skill. We talked about his skill even after we dealt him. We knew we were dealing a skillful player, and he’s shown that,” Neely said.
Neely was asked to look back at the entire picture of Seguin’s time in Boston, from draft day up to the trade, and say whether there’s anything the team might regret.
“Maybe when he first got here, did we do him any favors or us any favors by sticking him in the lineup in a position that maybe he wasn’t really geared for or set up for?” Neely said. “Being an 18-year-old kid in the NHL, and at that time he was somewhat living on his own, which was probably not the best thing. We had tried to find a place for him, and that proved difficult for us to do. But any time you make a deal of that magnitude, you want to look back and say, is there something that we can learn from it? And I think the staff here has done that.”
Neely said that teams typically like to give their young players a bit of a controlled environment to help ease the transition.
“With David [Pastrnak], we’ve got him living with somebody,” Neely said. “We did it with [Phil] Kessel, he lived with a family. And I think we had a hard time finding someone for Tyler, and I think it’s difficult. You’re living in a different country with different laws and you’re on your own with a team — and he’s said this multiple times — that was basically an older, veteran team where most of the players are married and have families and [live] different lifestyles.”
It wasn’t all Seguin talk. Neely was asked about the Bruins’ issues with the Canadiens, as evidenced by Boston’s 0-4 record against Montreal this season. Going back to last year’s postseason, Montreal has beaten Boston in regulation in six straight games.
“I wish I had an easy answer. There’s been a combination of things,” Neely said. “They’re a team, as you know, they’ve got some smaller, faster forwards that at times these past six games have made it difficult for us to probably play our game a little bit, the way we need to play to be successful, and it’s something that we continue to talk about.”
Felger then proposed an idea that he himself noted to be stupid: Move Patrice Bergeron to right wing so that the team can acquire a center before the trade deadline and fill the void at right wing, all in one fell swoop. Would the Bruins consider that?
“You could do that, but it’s difficult. He’s so good down low in the defensive end, I think we would lose something there by moving him to the wing,” Neely politely replied, noting that the Bruins would like to add a right-shot right wing via trade. “I don’t know if we would be a better team by moving Bergeron to the wing. I’d like to see if we could upgrade at that position over moving Bergeron to the wing.”
Listen to the full conversation with Neely below:
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