Seguin learns ins and outs

He understands coach’s reasoning

Bruins Tim Thomas (left) and Zdeno Chara rattle Vancouver’s Alex Burrows as they snuff out this scoring attempt. Bruins Tim Thomas (left) and Zdeno Chara rattle Vancouver’s Alex Burrows as they snuff out this scoring attempt. (Barry Chin/ Globe Staff)
By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / June 9, 2011

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After two games of the Stanley Cup Final, Boston’s fourth line had no even-strength pulse. And Tyler Seguin had zero points. Both issues required addressing.

One was separate from the other. But the Bruins came up with a fix that solved both concerns. For Game 3, Seguin was out. Shawn Thornton was in.

All of a sudden, the fourth line had a heartbeat. And even without Seguin — the 19-year-old with the best high-end skill set on the roster — the Bruins put up an 8-spot on the Canucks.

Seguin had an idea that such a move might be coming.

“I wasn’t happy with the way I played last game in Vancouver,’’ said Seguin, who didn’t land on the scoresheet in 8:46 of ice time in Game 2. “I don’t think I played at my best.

“I can’t say I was shocked. It was what it was. I gave Thorty a pat on the back and said, ‘Go get ’em.’ That’s all I could do.’’

Last night, with Nathan Horton unavailable, Seguin was back in. He skated a total of 7:48 and picked up an assist on Michael Ryder’s second-period goal.

After the 3-2 Game 2 overtime loss, Bruins coach Claude Julien acknowledged that Seguin didn’t play as well as he has in the past. But he wasn’t as concerned with Seguin’s performance as he was with the team’s overall lack of identity, especially the fourth line.

Where Vancouver’s fourth line of Jeff Tambellini, Manny Malhotra, and Victor Oreskovich made an impact on the game and on the Bruins’ bodies (eight hits total from the No. 4 wingmen), Boston’s fourth unit did next to nothing.

To get the energy and identity he wanted, Julien had only one candidate for press box duty.

“You can kind of figure it out — know what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right, and what you need to stay consistent at,’’ Seguin said. “When I’m in, I know what I need to do.’’

Behave yourself
In Game 1, Alex Burrows bit Patrice Bergeron’s right index finger. In Game 2, Maxim Lapierre taunted Bergeron by waving his finger in front of his face.

The silliness continued in Game 3. Mark Recchi shoved his fingers in Lapierre’s face. Later, Milan Lucic removed his right glove and wiggled his fingers in front of Burrows’s teeth.

After Game 3, Mike Murphy, the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations, informed both teams that there would be a zero-tolerance policy regarding finger waggles. Any player who engaged in finger taunting was subject to an unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct.

“I’m certainly not a guy that encourages that kind of stuff,’’ Julien said. “I think there’s been some pretty exciting hockey — when you look at the physicality of the game, the goals that have been scored, how both teams are putting everything on the line.

“I think we need to focus more on that than the other stuff that’s been making headlines. I don’t think we need that in our sport.’’

Last night, referees Dan O’Halloran and Kelly Sutherland called 21 total penalties for 66 PIMs. Brad Marchand racked up six minutes (roughing, holding, tripping) on one play. He collared Christian Ehrhoff, dumped Daniel Sedin with a hip check, then tangled with Keith Ballard at 17:33 of the third.

“It’s helped my game to try and be a bit of a rat out there,’’ Marchand said.

Rule may expand
During their meetings yesterday at the Langham Hotel, the NHL general managers recommended broadening Rule 48. The rule, which was introduced last year in the wake of Matt Cooke’s hit on Marc Savard, punishes players for throwing blindside hits with the head as the principal point of contact.

Rule 48 would expand to protect unsuspecting/vulnerable players from head shots. The NHL’s competition committee will consider the recommendation Monday, either in New York or in Boston. If the committee passes the rule, it will be up for vote at the Board of Governors meeting June 21.

“I think it was a huge step,’’ said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “A huge step from Rule 48, which I thought was a good step, too.’’

The rule does not eliminate head shots outright. Toronto GM Brian Burke referenced the hit that Mattias Ohlund threw on Phil Kessel in 2009. Ohlund belted Kessel with a clean north-south hit that included contact to the head. Burke said there is no appetite for eliminating such hits from the game.

“This is a full-contact sport,’’ Burke said. “Always has been. It’s been a full-contact sport since we opened our doors for business.’’

Breaking the ice
Recchi exercised his usual option yesterday of skipping the morning skate. Jordan Caron, who had been practicing with the Black Aces, earned the nod to be the 12th forward on the ice. He also participated in pregame warm-ups last night. “Besides the game, you look at ways to help your young players grow,’’ Julien said. “I think that’s one of the ways.’’ Despite being a healthy scratch until the Eastern Conference finals, Seguin participated in warm-ups prior to every game . . . The Bruins did not seem intent on seeking retribution for Aaron Rome’s hit on Horton. “It’s certainly not about looking for revenge,’’ said Julien. “Justice has been served. No other reason to look for more. If we really want to make Nathan happy, we know what we have to do. That’s win a Stanley Cup.’’

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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