If Tyler Seguin is as good at shutting down his Twitter account as he was at getting shut out on the scoresheet in the playoffs then his days of 140-character missives are — like his days donning the Spoked-B — done.
Both the Bruins and Twitter being Seguin-free seem like good ideas right now, quick fixes to aggravating problems. But they might prove rash overreactions in the end. Professional athletes have to learn how to deal with the consequences of celebrity in the social media age and patience has to be shown with a potential franchise player whose talent level far exceeds his maturity level.
The Bruins gave up on Seguin too soon, trading him July 4 to the Dallas Stars and confining him to the dustbin of failed face-of-the-franchise forwards along with Joe Thornton and Phil Kessel after just three seasons. He needed more time and more tough love to grow as a person and a player in Boston. He was too young and too talented to send packing post-haste after one lukewarm season, one feckless playoff run, and one too many late nights.
Seguin’s exile to Texas shows a lack of growth and commitment by both sides, and the aftermath of the trade has been undignified with anonymous tales of Seguin’s misdeeds paired with Seguin’s parents sniping back at the Bruins.
For a player who never liked to take a lot of hits on the ice, Seguin is sure absorbing them off it. The latest one came Saturday night when a tweet from his Twitter account said, “Only steers and queers in Texas, and I’m not a cow.”
The Stars issued a statement Sunday disavowing themselves from the tweet. Seguin deleted the tweet, said his account had been hacked, and pledged a Twitter vow of silence for a while.
It only furthered the Tyler the Terrible image that has been formulated over the last week-plus.
The ex-Bruins Wild Child winger, dealt to Dallas along with Rich Peverley and a prospect in exchange for winger Loui Eriksson and three prospects, had his professionalism questioned by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and has been portrayed as partying like his life was the hockey version of the movie “The Hangover”.
Fittingly, pictures popped up of Seguin partying July 4 via the website Larry Brown Sports.
Seguin is an immature 21-year-old who likes to party. No one would care, including the Bruins, if he had produced more than one goal in 22 playoff games. As much as the comportment part of severing ties with Seguin has been played up, if he had been living it up on the ice it wouldn’t be an issue.
Remember, there is a certain 23-year-old Patriots tight end who has been given carte blanche to partake in night life as much as he chooses. If anyone should say otherwise they’re subject to the slings and arrows of tweeters, commenters, and bloggers.
That’s what’s disconcerting about the trade. It was a response to too small a sample size — a lockout-shortened 48-game season and a playoff run that numbered one more game than Seguin’s years on earth.
Two of the three prospects the Bruins acquired in the deal are older than Seguin, who won’t turn 22 until January.
Any attempt to label Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, as an “El Busto” to borrow the term former Denver Nuggets coach Dan Issel coined for Tony Battie, is inaccurate.
He has not become Steven Stamkos, but he was second on the Bruins in goals this season with 16. In 2012, he led the team in goals with 29 and points with 67.
That was the season that earned him a six-year, $34.5 million extension less than 10 months ago. Only Kim Kardashian had changed her mind about a long-term commitment faster than the B’s.
There is no question Seguin’s development hit the pause button this year, instead of him fast-forwarding to a franchise forward.
He remained pusillanimous when it came to puck battles and mucking in the scoring areas. Seguin needed to add some sandpaper to his game, which remained as soft as a goose down pillow at times.
But flogging Seguin for not scoring more in the playoffs should come replete with some context. After being demoted from the second line for Game 7 of the Toronto series, he spent most of the playoffs riding on the third line with Chris Kelly and Peverley, neither of whom displayed a pucks pulse until the Stanley Cup Final.
The kid was never drafted to be a third-line wing. He was and is a high-end offensive talent.
It would appear the Bruins won’t make room for such a player in their system. It’s all grist, grind, goaltending, and gestalt for the Black and Gold, the offensively inclined need not apply.
That approach was validated with their run to a second Stanley Cup Final in three seasons.
But the difference in the Cup Final was a player with a skill set, albeit more refined, and a penchant for partying not all that different from Seguin’s — the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane.
The reuniting of Kane with Jonathan Toews changed the course of the series and landed Kane the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The Bruins beat teams that can’t complement their skill, skating, and scoring with pluck, mettle, or mental toughness, like Pittsburgh or Vancouver. But when they ran into a team that had more talent and the requisite tenacity, talent won out. It usually does in sports.
Seguin has plenty of talent and the type of talent that’s not easy to find.
The Bruins should have waited a little longer for it and Seguin to come of age.Christopher L. Gasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.