A dramatic change of venue hasn’t done anything to disrupt the chemistry between Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron.
The Boston Bruins teammates have joined forces on the same line again for Canada’s Spengler Cup squad, and just like old times they are providing quality offence, relentless energy and hard-nosed defence to boost their team.
“Pretty much everything is different,” said Seguin, referring to the size of the ice surface, head coach Doug Shedden’s system and of course, their teammates. “But big ice, small ice, Switzerland, Boston — when you have chemistry with someone and you know each other like we do, you’re going to find success.”
Seguin and Bergeron, who won a Stanley Cup together in 2011, have combined for three points and numerous scoring chances in their first two games of the tournament. In the opener against Adler Mannheim, Seguin scored the game-tying goal late in the third period after blasting home a cross-ice pass from Bergeron.
“It came naturally,” Bergeron said of dangerous lethal connection. “I just try to do the little things, and with his speed if I put him in a good situation, he’s going to bury the puck.”
While feisty winger Brad Marchand played alongside them in Boston last season, Shedden chose power forward Ryan Smyth to complete their line at the Spengler Cup.
“We’re happy to have him with us,” Bergeron said. “He’s got such great experience, he’s pretty good around the net, he hunts the puck and he’s good in the corners.”
Seguin agrees that Smyth is an ideal partner for the pair, who finished with a combined rating of plus-70 with Boston last season.
“We do a lot of cycling, trying to win battles with quick feet and going towards the net,” he said. “Smyth was doing it with us (Thursday) night so its working well and its been a lot of fun.”
As for their opponents, fun is not the word that comes to mind when facing off against them.
“They’re pretty explosive players,” said Adler Mannheim defenceman Dennis Seidenberg, who is normally teammates with the pair in Boston. “With guys like Seguin and Bergeron, you have to play it safe because if they get behind you, it’s done.”
During the NHL lockout, both Seguin and Bergeron moved to Switzerland to play in the National League A. Seguin has been playing in the French part of the country with EHC Biel, while Bergeron suited up for HC Lugano in the Italian region. Each of them are producing at well over a point-per-game pace, and are beginning to catch on to the new culture.
“I’m learning a few words, I can order some food in French now,” said Seguin, a native of Brampton, Ont.
“I’m trying to teach him a lot actually, only the good words though,” added Bergeron, a native of L’Ancienne-Lorette, Que. “So far so good.”
Though the two are prospering in Europe, they say the transition to the different style of hockey has not completely set in yet and that they are still improving.
“You have to change your style, since we’re used to playing in tighter spaces,” Bergeron said. “But its just hockey, you go out there and you play, once you start clicking it snowballs from there.”
With Canada’s round-robin schedule now complete and a semifinal berth secured, the team will be counting on the development of Seguin and Bergeron’s chemistry to help push them through to the championship game.