(Source: BostonGlobe.com) – As linemates for the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand expected to be together for Team Canada for the World Cup of Hockey. They are indeed, with Sidney Crosby serving as their center. The Cup-favorite Canadians, who opened camp Monday in Ottawa, had Crosby centering the No. 1 line in familiar company. Marchand and Crosby are native Nova Scotians. Crosby and Bergeron are longtime international linemates, dating back to the 2005 World Junior Championship.
It’s painful that we even have to envision the fantasy of Tyler Seguin playing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand because there was once a time when it was real. Long before Seguin was slaying numerous platinum blonde 10’s down in Dallas he was winning a Stanley Cup with the black n’ gold while burning through Boston smokeshows at an incredible rate. But what I have to assume was during a heavy drinking period for Peter Chiarelli and his staff, during a blackout bender, they opted to ship him out of town for what has amounted to Jimmy Hayes and Joe Morrow. Talk about the hockey gods making up for the Bruins stealing Cam Neely from Vancouver once upon a time.
But alas, here we are…
Now Sidney Crosby is centering Bergy and Marchand on Team Canada’s top line for the World Cup of Hockey. And that got me thinking; if you were free to do a real life fantasy draft and had to pick Bergeron and Marchand’s linemate with the Bruins for the next 2-3 seasons would you rather:
Marchand-Crosby-Bergeron, or Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin again?
Well, not that there is a wrong answer to this question but I’d break it down in a very simple way. What combo would be most effective offensively, and what combo would shut down the other team defensively? And lastly, how would players do playing a position they don’t normally play?
Sidney Crosby does it all. He leads, he scores, he’s good defensively, he wins faceoffs, he’s near perfect outside of complaining and diving a lot. And he’s even toned down those annoying tactics over the past couple of seasons. The Bruins haven’t had a hard time scoring goals recently, finishing 5th in the NHL this past season in offense, but the timing of those goals scored (like in the last 5 games of the season, cough cough) is just as important as the volume of them. That’s where Crosby comes in. He is clutch and he wins. When the Bruins needed that goal down the stretch he would have provided it or set it up. He’d also have the added benefit of Bergeron more than likely deferring and letting 87 play his natural position of center.
Tyler Seguin is less of an all-around player, and although a compliment, it’s still a bit unfair for him to be compared against the best player in the world over the past decade. But his wheels and high end offensive skill put him up there as one of the worlds best as well. Seguin has also played with Bergy and Marchand before so the familiarity is already there. And rather than being a Bergeron 2.0 like Crosby can be, Seguin adds another element the Bruins lack, pure goal scoring. The Bruins have routinely had plenty two-way, defense first forwards before. Seguin would be the proven Tarasenko-like complimentary sniper they’ve desperately needed. The only downfall for 91 is he’d be relegated to the wing as Bergy is by far the better center and that’s not exactly where he shines.
Those basic reasons are enough to lead me to pick Sidney Crosby over Tyler Seguin. Age, entering prime of his career, and potential long term sustainability all point toward Seguin being the right choice. But Crosby was the center piece behind two Stanley Cup champions and an Olympic Gold Medal. He’s a proven winner. He’s the more complete player. Seguin has struggled to show any sustained success in any post season up to this point in his career. Now you could argue Crosby is a headshot away from being out of the league with his concussion history, but although not of the head variety, Seguin has also had some injury issues in recent years as well.
I wanted to pick Seguin. I really did. I wish he was still a Bruin. In this instance he’s just up against too great of a player in Sid. Mike Babcock essentially made the decision for us as well by choosing Crobsy over Seguin on that line for Team Canada.
However, if it meant I could be Seguin’s wingman just picking up his scraps every night out on the town then I’d pick him over Crosby 10 times out of 10.