The past two weeks have proven to be some many firsts for Bruins forward Tyler Seguin. It’s his first time playing overseas, his first lockout and his first goal. Naturally, Seguin takes all of his firsts in stride, careful not to slip up too much aside from a little language barrier mishap in an interview here and there. However, Switzerland was still able to get an interview with the young superstar and here is what he had to say about his time in the country so far:
Tyler Seguin, you just came from seeing the Ice Stadium’s locker rooms, what was your first impression? You don’t want to go back to Boston, do you?
[laughs] It doesn’t really look like an NHL locker room. It’s the kind of locker room I grew up in in Juniors. But hey, it looks like hockey. It makes me happy to find that atmosphere again.
Is this the first time you’ve been to Europe?
No, I’ve been six or seven times playing hockey with Team Canada. In Russia, Finland, and Slovakia particularly. On the other hand, I’ve never set foot in Switzerland before.
Do you like the larger playing surfaces in Europe?
Yeah, definitely. Skating is an important part of my game. I’m excited to play on these big rinks.
The question that everyone’s asking: are you going to take this challenge seriously with HC Bienne? What’s your state of mind?
Playing in the NHL has been my dream my whole life. This year, because of the lock-out, that unfortunately won’t happen. So now, my team is Bienne. For now, I’m not a Bruin, I’m part of Bienne’s team. I’m here to help the team and win games.
Before leaving, were you informed about where you were going to be staying?
I looked on Google and youtube for everything I could learn about the city and HC Bienne. I looked at a ton of videos and game summaries. I could tell that the game in Switzerland is a pretty different. It’s definitely going to be a learning process for me, but I’m excited at the idea of playing for this club.
How do you feel physically?
[laughs] I still feel a little rusty…
Would you have liked to play in this game against Ambri?
Yeah of course, I want to play as soon as I can. But it’s been months since I’ve played a game. Plus I’m still feeling jetlagged. I think first I need a few hours of sleep.
You are the 2nd big superstar to come to the Ice Stadium. Do you know who was the first?
No, no idea.
Oh ok! I never had the chance to play against him. He’d already retired (ed: Chelios ended his career in 2010 at the age of 48!). It’s only been 2 years since I joined the League. But I’ve met him a bunch of times. He was really a great player.
Seguin is a French name…
Yeah, I have Quebequois origins, but I don’t really speak the language. I can read in French, but that’s it. My grandfather’s from Quebec, so my Dad of course also speaks French. My mom’s Greek. As for me, I was raised in an English-speaking area.
How would you describe yourself as a player?
I think first and foremost I’m a playmaker. I try to be a complete player. I’ve been a center my whole life but these last two years I’ve developed at the wing with the Bruins. I want to be able to play all three zones of the rink.
And off the ice? Are you a pretty calm kind of guy?
[laughs] Not really, no! I’ve got character. I like to have fun, have a good time! But coming to a new place where I don’t know anyone, I imagine I’ll be pretty calm at the start…I’m excited in any case to get to know my new teammates.
Do you already know any of the HC Bienne players?
I know Ahren Spylo, I skated with him during the summer of 2011 in Canada, and I know Dario Truttman a little who played on the Plymouth Whalers like I did. He got there the year after I left, but my good friends know him well. Actually Dario sent me a welcome message a couple days ago.
The young players on the team want to learn from your examples, see how you prepare for games. Will you be a good example to follow?
I hope so! I’m a really honest guy. I do everything I can to help me progress and get better. My whole life I’ve been the little kid learning from the other players. It’ll be interesting being in the opposite situation.
As a kid, which NHL team did you support?
I grew up in Toronto. So the Maple Leafs were everywhere. Then I played in Michigan (ed: Plymouth Whalers), so I started to really like the Detroit Red Wings. But after that my dream was just to play in the NHL. I was drafted by Boston, an Original Six team, I couldn’t dream of anything better.
Couldn’t you have been drafted by Toronto though, who had the second pick that year?
Yeah, but earlier they’d traded my rights with Boston to get Phil Kessel. At the time, the Leafs didn’t know that I’d be the second pick. When I play against Toronto there’s always a lot of talk about that story.
You just signed a huge contract with the Boston Bruins: 34 million dollars for the next six years! Is it weird to be making such huge amounts when you’re only 20 years old?
It’s always nice to have money of course. What’s important is to have some stability and to know what’s waiting for you in the next few years. But with the lockout, no one really knows what’s going ot happen next. Right now I want to concentrate on my job here in Bienne. That’s enough to make me happy.