BOSTON -- For his family and friends attending the Boston Bruins game at Toronto last Saturday night, Tyler Seguin brought along a special treat.
The second-year winger carried with him his Stanley Cup championship ring, which he admitted he hadn't looked at since the home opener, to show off during his first trip back to his hometown since the ring ceremony.
Little did anyone know that Seguin's performance would overshadow the opportunity to view the 300-diamond prize.
Seguin's first NHL hat trick highlighted the Bruins' 7-0 rout of the Maple Leafs. Back on home ice for Monday night's game against the New York Islanders, Seguin wasn't thinking about producing another offensive eruption as an encore.
"We've got, what, 12 games down. I don't know the math, but a lot more to go," said Seguin, who now leads the Bruins in both goals (7) and points (14). "So [I'm looking for] consistency, that's for sure."
Seguin's ability to produce like an offensive machine was never questioned from the time he was taken with the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. It was evident in spurts over the course of his 11-goal regular season and when he scored 3 goals in two games against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals.
However, his play away from the puck and in his own zone was what needed to develop before he could get more playing time.
If Seguin needs to show Bruins coach Claude Julien and his staff Exhibit A for his improvement as a defensive player, he could use his second goal form the Toronto game. Seguin broke up a Toronto pass near the red line and then drove toward the net after dishing the puck off to Patrice Bergeron.
Sure, that goal will most be remembered for his backhand batting of the puck out of the air like a baseball player, but the defensive play was what proved Seguin has taken his coaching staff's lessons to heart.
"Yeah, that's something I've learned over games and with just experience. The more you kind of cheat offensively, the less opportunities you're getting," he said. "But when we play the system and when we play a good D zone, it seems to create a lot more opportunities down there, for sure."
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Julien, who's leaning on Seguin to play 16:45 of ice time a night after the forward averaged just 12:13 as a rookie last season, has witnessed a rapid maturation of the former Ontario Hockey League Player of the Year and leading scorer.
"Yeah, so much credit goes to him," Julien said. "Because as much as we've tried to teach him, he's just kind of bought in big time and believes in it. He wants to be that kind of player. We all know he's great offensively, but he wants more than that. He also wants to be reliable.
"As much as people say let him play his game, we do. But he wants to be more than that. He wants to make sure that in his own end he's solid. He takes pride in that. He wants to be part of that group, and so that's why I say a lot of credit goes to him. Not everybody wants to do that; he does. And right now, his head is on right. Not bigger than the game and understanding he still has a lot to learn and remains a very modest individual."
Just last week, a Bruins line shuffle landed Seguin on the right wing with Bergeron at center and Brad Marchand on the left side. Traditionally, the line with Bergeron and Marchand (which featured Mark Recchi on the right side most of last season) gets matched up against the opposition's top offensive trio.
Seguin's presence hasn't changed that strategy, nor have the Bruins felt the need to fill in someone else in big defensive situations. In a win against Ottawa last week, with the Bruins protecting a two-goal lead and the Senators skating with an extra attacker, Seguin took his regular shift in the closing minutes.
"I kind of never really thought about it or noticed it before I started playing with Bergy -- it's only been a couple games -- but I think it just makes me have to work a little bit harder on my D zone, especially just knowing that you're against the top lines of the other team," Seguin said. "So it makes you focus even more in the D zone, and right now it's going well."
The Bruins received some criticism for their handling of Seguin last season because at times it seemed like they could've used his offensive talents more. However, the Bruins wanted to develop a multi-faceted player, not just an offensive force. So right now, they're reaping the benefits of that.
Seguin should be set to put on more all-round shows the next time he's in Toronto or anywhere he plays.