Apr 20, 2020
Stars' Seguin all-in for COVID-19 relief, resuming NHL season
Dallas Stars centre Tyler Seguin chats with TSN's Mark Masters about the All In Challenge, delves into which team he rooted for while growing up, his thoughts on the hopeful resumpion of the NHL season and much more.
By Mark Masters
Tyler Seguin already wanted in on the All In Challenge when his cell buzzed with a message from an old friend.
"I saw guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning doing it and I saw Meek Mill put up his Rolls-Royce and it’s a $300,000 car," said the Dallas Stars centre. "So, I saw these cool things and was like, 'I want to be a part of it.' And, sure enough, Michael Del Zotto from Anaheim texted me and said, 'I'm doing it, can I nominate you?'"
The All In Challenge, organized by sports retailer Fanatics, provides a platform for prominent athletes, musicians and celebrities to auction off items or 'experience' packages with all proceeds going to charities working to eliminate food insecurities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Del Zotto actually included Seguin in his package, with the winning bidder getting to play a round of golf with the pair.
#ALLINCHALLENGE @tseguinofficial pic.twitter.com/GKdn4YFAJx— Michael Del Zotto (@MichaelDelZotto) April 16, 2020
"He told me that after he did it," Seguin noted with a grin. "But I'm good with that. We were roommates for a couple summers so we'll come up with some stories. He's a guy that needs everything super clean and we've had a lot [of] arguments over it. I'd leave my pants out or my pots out or my drawers open and he has to be spotless. There will be a lot of good storytelling."
Seguin is offering a dream day with the Stars. The winning bidder will get to attend a morning skate, hang out in the dressing room, watch a game from seats on the glass and get Seguin's game-used stick, which will be signed by the team. The night will end with dinner. Seguin says Nick and Sam's, a steakhouse, is his go-to spot in Big D although he hasn't settled on a specific location for the night.
I’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE to help feed the hungry during this challenging time. Click here to see what I’m putting up: https://t.co/uQVwa3neWp. Also, @Benbishop30, @Bmarch63 I challenge you to be ALL IN!! Lets goo pic.twitter.com/dVb3vJDjyn— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) April 19, 2020
While Seguin is aware of all the talk about neutral-site games and other return-to-play possibilities for the National Hockey League, he prefers to focus on the present.
"It hasn't crossed my mind yet," he insisted. "The thought process right now, honestly, starts with being worried about the world and the less fortunate and the people who are going through so much worse things than I am.
"And then it's, 'How can I be positive right now in my life?' And, 'How focused can I be on being ready to play hockey?'"
Checking in with @tseguinofficial. 👋— DallasStars (@DallasStars) April 15, 2020
Seguin and his doggos check in from home to give an update on how he has been passing time with the @NHL season on pause.@AtHomeStores | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/0VUxrbceaO
Seguin spoke to TSN via Zoom on Monday. The 28-year-old reflected on his season to date, offered a scouting report on his hometown Maple Leafs and looked ahead to potential playoff opponents for the Stars.
The following is an edited transcript of the exchange.
As part of the All In Challenge, you're offering behind-the-scenes access to the dressing room. So, which teammates will you introduce to the person and who will you steer clear from?
"Introducing to, probably, Ben Bishop. He's the social butterfly of the team. I think he's called every player on the team almost every day and just wants to talk so he's a good person to introduce to people he's never met. And I'd probably steer clear of (Alexander) Radulov. He's just a bit of an intimidating human being, no teeth, a lot of hair, speaks a lot of Russian around the room so probably avoid him."
Tyler Seguin talks to @markhmasters about the All-In Challenge and what he’s offering in a 'Dream Day' with the Stars, provides insight into teammate Alexander Radulov and his belief that there will be some form of playoffs this season: https://t.co/0jukTdxuV9#TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/kj8P5Gknbo— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) April 20, 2020
During a recent Instagram story chat with fans, you said Radulov is the teammate you miss most, because he's a funny guy who always has something going on. Meanwhile, Jamie Benn said Radulov is the guy he'd least like to be in quarantine with. Can you give us a sense of what this guy is all about?
"That's how he is. He's got great days and not-so-great days. It depends who you get. I mean, I love him. I love all his personalities and I love him as a teammate. He's the biggest competitor or one of the biggest competitors I've ever played with. If the puck goes in the corner he's going to fight three guys for that puck. But, definitely he has different days."
As part of the All In Challenge, the NHL is auctioning off a special 2021 Winter Classic package. What do you remember most about your experience this season at the Cotton Bowl?
"It's hard to put one thing. I think the family day was incredible, getting to share that with the family and friends and just going out there. That's the day before so you practise and bring your family out and you get to see it all and just imagining how many people will be at the game.
"And then my next biggest moment was when we played soccer, playing two touch before the game started and realizing what it's like being an NFL player in a way. You hear everything good and bad so we walked by Nashville's fan base and heard all the chirping and then our fans. It was surreal to see everything that that game was going to entail.
"And then it was business as usual after that, played a game and there's no time to get nervous or jitters, it's right into hockey, which is great. And then after the game taking that team picture after winning, I'll never forget that as well."
They said it couldn’t be done. Happy New Year everybody. #gostars #2020 pic.twitter.com/Bopr7smusU— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) January 2, 2020
Any chirps from the fans stand out? You said you heard everything.
"I heard everything. A lot of swearing and off-side comments, but we'll leave those there."
Were you tempted to bid on any of the other All In Challenge auctions when you were scanning them?
"There's some heavy numbers up there. I think that day with Tom Brady and going to the (Tampa Bay) home opener. Whether it's working out with him or being able to pick his brain, I mean, that's a pretty cool experience."
(Note: The leading bid for the Brady package is up to $775,000 as of Monday afternoon.)
I accept the #ALLINCHALLENGE. Watch the video & go to https://t.co/bRtYgf65MS to get involved. I challenge my wife @giseleofficial, my buddy @drake & YOU @nflcommish to go ALL IN! pic.twitter.com/QDeBNEM0rf— @tombrady (@TomBrady) April 15, 2020
Growing up, what was your coolest fan moment? A moment when you had to pinch yourself.
"I mean, growing up it was tough, because I was always a Leafs fan (smile). So, watching (Mats) Sundin all the time scoring goals, I mean, that was awesome. And Shayne Corson, Darcy Tucker, all those guys, but the big moment was going to be when they won. Obviously, I'm talking to TSN now so I'm not going to say I'm a Leafs fan, but if we were out of the playoffs and they were still playing I'd probably still watch, because I'm Toronto raised and it's Leafs forever growing up there."
The Stars played the Leafs twice in the last six weeks before the pause. What did you think of this version of the team?
"They're a good hockey team. They have so much skill, so much offence. They're pretty deep and they're fun to play against. It's just rapid fire. It reminds me a bit of playing the Red Wings back in the day, just that first shift you see the puck move around and keep going. They just got to get a little better defensively, get some more experience and they'll be a good hockey team."
Playing your ex-teammate Jason Spezza, did any moments stand out going up against him?
"Every faceoff’s a moment. He was one of those guys, I won't say early in my career, but he helped grow my faceoff abilities. I started off with Rich Peverley in Boston and David Krejci and then watched Patrice Bergeron and then definitely Spezza taught me many things at the dot and taught me many things about being a leader and leadership qualities and everything about being a pro on and off the ice. Spezza's the go-to guy to be a role model. A lot of chirps at the dot against him."
Alex Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky recently did a joint interview. If the NHL asked you to do something similar, who do you think you'd have a good conversation with?
"I'd like to pick Scotty Bowman's brain. I met him once, but I'd like to get to know him more. Growing up my idol was Steve Yzerman and I met him a couple of times. You know, just the way he transitioned his game, he was a younger player, got statistics and all this, but he grew into a leader and didn't win, really, until late and then was part of a dynasty. So, probably those two guys to start off with."
"Win the @StanleyCup and I'll give you a stick."— NHL (@NHL) April 20, 2020
Hear the story of how @WayneGretzky helped Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) add to his collection on tonight's #HockeyAtHome show.
Watch at 5p ET on Facebook, IGTV and YouTube! pic.twitter.com/743ljkQui8
What's your sense on whether the season will resume? Are you optimistic, pessimistic or hard to say?
"I'm planning that we're going to play. I'm mentally preparing and physically preparing like we're going to play. Right away I had a six-week program planned that I thought we were playing in six weeks and now it's probably a 16, 18-week program. I mean, you could sit here and speculate all you want. I, personally, think we're going to play playoffs at some point whether that's with fans or no fans. It's my 10th year in the league, you know, (it's) not often a Stanley Cup comes around and I want every opportunity to win it so I don't want to take a year off."
How long would you need to get up to speed?
"We're all professional athletes. We're all going to be fine when it comes to staying in shape. I'm not worried about that at all. But, we're going to need some kind of time on the ice. You can prepare all you want, but to get on the ice (is important), have that cold feeling in your lungs, the sore throat, all that stuff that comes from getting back on the ice. So, not being on the ice is tough."
Two to four weeks seems to be the idea for a mini camp.
"Yeah, two to four weeks. I was talking to Ben Bishop and he says he needs five to seven days, but he's Ben Bishop and he's a goalie so I don't know. I think it varies guy to guy, but I think we're all in the same boat here so there's not going to be any excuses."
With a long break now, it’s a chance to take a big-picture view of things. Is there one thing you'd like to see changed in hockey or you think is worth taking a look at?
"I've thought a lot about the way our playoffs are and having two of the top teams sometimes playing each other in the first round or second round and how you could change that. But, I mean, every year's different. You get in the playoffs and it doesn't matter where you finish anymore. You know, you look at a team like Nashville that finished eighth and went to the Stanley Cup Final (in 2017). You look at St. Louis last year, I mean, they were dead last and they come on and Tampa Bay is unbeatable and then they lose [the] first round. So, I don't think it matters at the end of the day. So, whatever the fans like the most. But, I guess that's something I've thought about."
It appeared like you were lining up to play Colorado in the first round. Dallas swept all four games from the Avalanche in the regular season. What did you like about that matchup?
"You don't love or hate any potential matchup, no matter what. You got to get through these great teams in our division. It's pretty insane. Colorado has a ton of skill. I've also heard a couple times on Twitter and stuff about going back (to where every team was after) 68 games and that would mean we're facing St. Louis. And the thought process of that is if you want to win a Stanley Cup you got to get through them at some point so you welcome it. It's just about being prepared now and being ready to go for whenever that day comes."
What if the NHL can’t complete the regular season?— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) April 8, 2020
What’s the best way to determine draft order, or potential playoff matchups?
With an assist from the OHL, @GinoRedaTSN & @frank_seravalli look at the idea of a 68-game “rollback.” - https://t.co/aGudHm2wrS#TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/NVGKQOtaXH
How do you feel about your season? I know you like to put up points, but the way the Stars play it's more about defence.
"I feel good. I feel like our team still has a lot of offence that we're leaving on the table, but it's also not our identity. We're a defensive team that has great goaltending and our forwards track back hard and we put a lot of our energy into that. So, I'm all about winning and I love winning games and our style works. You sacrifice the goals and points sometimes, but it's all about winning and getting back to the Stanley Cup. So, I'm all for how we're playing."