There's two ways to look at Tyler Seguin's coming out party on Tuesday night.
The easy perspective, and therefore the most popular, is to suggest head coach Claude Julien unfairly held back Seguin during the regular season and by sitting him out in the first 11 games of the playoffs. A four-point explosion from the kid in a 6-5 Boston win in Game 2 is clear evidence of that, right? Evidence he should have been playing all along, right?
Well, hang on.
Now, Julien is one of those coaches who can't seem to win by winning. Got fired in Montreal. Got fired with a 100-point team in the final few days of a regular season in New Jersey. People think he coaches boring hockey. And so on. Julien's an easy target because he's not a fiery, John Tortorella guy who fires back. He's more of a gentleman, and a quiet man who simply believes what he believes in and is willing to suffer the slings and arrows to pursue his craft.
But it's possible to also look at Seguin's four-pointer on Tuesday as evidence of a player who was carefully prepared for his big momemt, brought along slowly by an experienced coaching staff, asked to be able to play an all-around game before he displaced a more senior player. Instead of slighting Julien, it's equally if not more sensible to give the coach credit for effectively grooming a 19-year-old forward so that when he was needed in the post-season, he would be ready to contribute.
Don't forget, it's not like Seguin was burning it up during the regular season. He had one point in his final 19 games, some of which he played as little as eight minutes, some of which he played more than 16 minutes. Some analysts argued as late as this week that Seguin didn't deserve to be in the NHL and should have been sent back to junior hockey during the season.
In these playoffs, Seguin sat in the press box for the first two rounds watching. But to be fair, after losing the first two games of the post-season to Montreal, Boston had been on a serious roll, winning eight of nine before Seguin was inserted as an injury replacement for Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. You don't change a winning lineup, and there wasn't an obvious choice of a player who needed to be deleted from the Beantown lineup in order to get Seguin in.
In Game 2, he was explosive and productive with two gorgeous goals. But rather than slight the Boston staff, credit them for holding this young colt until he was ready to do exactly what he did. Don't forget, it hasn't been like he's been sitting at home watching television since the playoffs started. Every day in practice, the coaching staff has been working with him, coaching him, showing him the things that would be necessary once he got his chance.
When he got his chance, he delivered like a player with enormous potential. And when he delivered, Julien gave him even more ice time. Now, the challenge will be for the young man to keep it going, to keep that ice time, and don't be surprised if he can't and ends up back in the press box, continuing to learn all the difficult lessons necessary to be a pro in the world's toughest hockey tournament.
Isn't that the way it's supposed to work? Good for Seguin, good for Julien and good for Boston.