The Boston Bruins entered Tuesday night's clash with the Winnipeg Jets having won 14 of their previous 15 games, garnering at least one point in every game throughout the streak. When they took to the ice in Winnipeg, though, they were without leading scorer Tyler Seguin for the first time this season.
Coach Claude Julien made the sophomore star a healthy scratch after Seguin missed a mandatory team breakfast and team meeting Tuesday morning. Without their team leader in both goals and points, the Bruins' offense sputtered in a 2-1 loss to the Jets that snapped their 15-game unbeaten streak.
The various social media networks have been a firing range for criticisms against Julien's decision to scratch Seguin. Fans have expressed their severe disapproval, and it has been blown a little bit out of proportion by radio talk hosts and other sports gossipers.
Here's the bottom line: rules are rules.
Could Tyler Seguin have helped the Bruins get a goal in the final stages of that game? Most definitely.
Still, if we learned anything from last season about Tyler Seguin besides his raw physical talent, it is that he responds well to discipline from his coaching staff. The product we have seen on the ice this season is not simply the product of an offseason workout regime.
The product we're watching is a more mature and focused player. We're seeing development from a kid who was up in the press box for several rivalry games against the Montreal Canadiens last season. He sat up there as a healthy scratch for the first two rounds of the playoffs, too.
And when he finally got his chance, he burst onto the scene with six points in his first two playoff games against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference final.
Bruins fans should understand by now that their coaches and their front office know what they are doing. They understand that a 19-year-old kid can very easily get complacent—after all, he is already a Stanley Cup champion and he is now the leading scorer on the defending champion Bruins.
That's more than just about any 19-year-old can say.
Benching him for one game—even if it was at the expense of extending a 15-game unbeaten streak—is the right decision in the long haul of this team and this kid. Seguin will learn from his mistake in the same way he has learned from all of his other mistakes.
For all we know, it was all just a scheme by Seguin's roommate Jordan Caron to make sure the youngster's alarm clock didn't sound in the morning. After all, Caron was the one who got the nod to dress in place of Seguin.
While that may be an unlikely scenario, you can be certain that the Bruins' prized star will be a stronger and more motivated player moving forward as a result of this relatively minor discipline. Seeing his team lose the game likely gives Seguin a splash of accountability, a feeling that he will look to reconcile with a strong effort moving forward the rest of the way.
There are always bumps in the road when it comes to turning a teenager into an NHL superstar. Don't make this into something it isn't.
It was a very minor speed bump, and Seguin is poised to break the speed limit on his way over the other side.
Be sure to follow Derek Robinson on Twitter. @DRobMachine