CHICAGO — They agreed to a moratorium on text messaging once the Stanley Cup playoffs began. But in no way did it suggest there was a thaw in the friendship between Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin, a pair of NHL wunderkinds whose relationship developed during the lockout when they played together in Switzerland.
“We haven’t talked since we knew we were matching up,’’ said Kane, whose hat trick against Los Angeles in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals propelled the Blackhawks to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final opposite Seguin’s Bruins.
“I thought about it a few times, maybe texting him,’’ Kane ackowledged. “But I knew it wasn’t the right thing, especially when you’re playing in the Stanley Cup Final.’’
When the Blackhawks took a 1-0 series lead Wednesday night, scoring a thrilling, 4-3 victory in triple overtime, the hockey simpaticos remained incommunicado.
So, when was the last time they texted each other?
“About a month and a half ago,’’ said Seguin, whose Bruins scored a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2 Saturday night.
And nothing since then?
“When it’s the playoffs, I think everyone is like that with friends,’’ Seguin said. “Before the playoffs started, there were a few texts with some Switzerland numbers tagged to it.’’
It was no doubt a reference to the great times Seguin and Kane shared and the fast friendship they developed playing for EHC Biel in the Swiss National League A.
The 21-year-old Seguin played Boy Wonder to the 24-year-old Kane’s Caped Crusader as the dynamic duo gave EHC Biel a devastating 1-2 punch, playing on the same line and power-play unit.
On the ice, they operated with the precision of the finest Swiss-made timepiece.
“He was a fun player to play with,’’ Seguin said of Kane, who scored four goals in the last two games of the Western Conference finals and led the Blackhawks with 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) this season.
“[He] definitely can bury the puck, can create opportunities for his linemates,’’ Seguin said. “It was definitely fun over there.’’
There was no disputing that, especially after Seguin scored 25 goals in 29 games, piling up 40 points during that stretch. Kane wound up scoring 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in 20 games. Their pairing seemed like a match made in hockey heaven: two of the NHL’s stars of the future, barnstorming the Swiss leagues, scoring at will.
“He’s a great kid and I had a lot of fun playing with him in Switzerland,’’ Kane said. “But I’m looking forward to playing against him now.’’
Seguin and Kane lived in the same apartment complex not far from Eisstadion Biel rink, where their on-ice chemistry blossomed and carried over off it.
“I didn’t know him too much before and maybe met him at a Bauer event or something like that,’’ Kane recalled. “But just watching him in Switzerland, at first I thought, for sure, this kid’s one day going to lead the NHL in goals or in scoring because of the skill he has, his shot, his speed, and smarts for the game, as well.
“I think we’ll see some special things from him in the future.’’
The Bruins hope Seguin showcases his special skill set sooner rather than later.
“There were a lot of good things that came out of that trip to Switzerland, to play there,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Also, at the same time, there were some challenges coming back. Bigger ice surface, different type of play. As good as he was there, he probably had to adjust a little bit. He came back, maybe after a couple weeks or so, he kind of got himself back into the North American, NHL type of game.’’
Apprised of Kane’s remarks, Seguin smiled.
He knew how much it had already cost him in Switzerland to earn Kane’s praise.
“A lot of movie tickets and dinners,’’ he said.
Still, it was evident Seguin was the one who benefited.
“Yeah, it was a fun experience,” he said. “It was definitely fun playing with Kane. He’s definitely a great player and when you’re out there, you’re just trying to get open for him because he makes some sweet passes. It’s definitely a memory I’ll always remember.’’