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Seguin showing he can be a leader for Stars both on, off ice

Whether he's scoring goals or making dreams come true, the center continues to do whatever it takes to help his team

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

SUNRISE, Fla. -- It was a rainy Sunday afternoon.

A day off.

Tyler Seguin's mom was in town.

Yet when the Dallas Stars Foundation was holding an event for Special Olympics, and Seguin said he would help out, he did just that. At a time when it would have been very easy to beg off or make up an excuse, Seguin showed up at one of the ball hockey courts he had donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County and played a little pick-up hockey with former Stars goalie Marty Turco and some special needs kids.

"It was great. It was a lot of fun," Seguin said. "The Foundation said what they wanted to do, so I said, 'Let's use my ball hockey court.' It worked out really well."

Video: After two-goal night, Seguin heating up at right time

It did, in a lot of ways, because Seguin had as much fun as the kids did.

"He has always been like that to me, and I'm thoroughly impressed," said Turco, who is president of the Stars Foundation and the 2006 winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award for contributions to charity.

Turco said Seguin's spirit is noticeable whenever he's at an event.

"He's there early, he's smiling, he's into it," Turco said. "He gets it, he's genuine. I love that."

Seguin built two ball hockey courts in the previous two years and then signed an eight-year contract extension before this season. So making an impact on the area is important to him. This is his home, and he wants to help out.

Video: DAL@FLA: Hintz, Seguin combine to open the scoring

"I think it's important to have someplace to go," he said of play surfaces. "A lot of people don't have that, so if we can give them a place, it's great. And it's not just for hockey, you can do a lot out there. Tennis, basketball, it's for all recreational activities."

As for actually playing on a court that bears his name?

"It is really cool. I'm not sure it's ever going to really sink in," he said. "I feel like I'm 12 or 15 and I'm one of the kids out there playing. I'm a kid at heart, so I just want to have fun. It's still surreal to me that people look up to me, but if I have the ability to do this, I want to do it."

And he also wants to do the bigger part of his job, which is helping this team win. Seguin had two goals and an assist Tuesday in a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers. In the Stars' recent 6-1-1 run, Seguin has seven goals and four assists for 11 points. He has been a leader since returning from the All-Star Break, both on the ice and off.

"There's no question that Tyler Seguin since we've come back from the break has been our best player on an every-night basis," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "He's leading us with his effort on the ice, he's doing the right things and saying the rights things. It's been awesome to watch and it makes us a lot better."

 

[PHOTO GALLERY: Tyler Seguin teams up with Special Olympians for ball hockey game to remember]

 

Seguin said that not going to the All-Star Game and getting some rest was helpful. But he also said he thought a lot about where he and the Stars are during the break, and that was motivating.

"We've been in this situation before, and I don't want to be sitting at the lake house in early April. It's not fun," Seguin said of missing the playoffs the past two season. "I want to be sure that we as a team we take it to the next level and that I take it to the next level, and this is an opportunity to do that."

Seguin showed that drive Tuesday. He had a great give-and-go with Roope Hintz that he turned into a redirect goal in the first period, and then made a great touch pass into the slot that led to Esa Lindell's goal in the second. He then added a 160-foot, empty-net goal that put the game away with 2:12 remaining.

It was a performance that followed the game plan and also used Seguin's unique skills.

"His focus and his intensity … he's always dialed in now. There's not a lot of horsing around or moments where he's not engaged when he's at the rink thinking about hockey," Montgomery said when asked what is different. "It's been very impressive to see because it's a whole 'nother level of intensity that you see he's taking his game to."

Video: DAL@FLA: Seguin pots second goal into empty net

And that's both on the ice and off. In a lot of ways, Seguin doesn't see any difference between the two.

"If you take Sunday as an example, Sunday was a day off, his mom was still in town and they went back on the road the next day," said Christa Melia, director of player relations for the Stars. "He could have been doing anything else. But he came and shared his love for the game with athletes from Special Olympics. I don't think the significance of that can be overstated."

Nor can his performance on the ice, and his hunger to do whatever it takes to help his team.

"I've played half a playoff game in the past four years. I know some of that is because of injury, but it just makes you want it even more," Seguin said. "There's another level that I've dreamed about and had goals about since coming to Dallas and that's why I re-signed here."

And now is a pretty good time to make some of those dreams come true.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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