DALLAS – Tyler Seguin wants to become the new face of the Dallas Stars. He’ll have to wipe a little egg off it first.
That process started at an introductory news conference Tuesday when the dynamic young forward with a penchant for Twitter controversy apologized again for an anti-gay comment that showed up on his account over the weekend.
The 21-year-old former No. 2 overall pick also reiterated that his account was hacked—but acknowledged that even he wouldn’t believe that explanation if it came from someone else.
Timing was a problem, too. The tweet showed up within a week of Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli saying Seguin needed to be a “better pro”—and just two days after he was traded to the Stars. The Twitter comment could be viewed as anti-Texas, too.
“I understand why that would have been the perfect time for somebody to do that,” said Seguin, who has suspended his account. “I’m looking forward to moving on and earning the respect of everyone else.”
Seguin acknowledged he was the source of a gay slur on Twitter in April. He said he “wasn’t thinking” then and that his Twitter account has since been hacked twice. He says his phone was in his pocket each time it happened, and multiple accounts, including email and iTunes, were improperly accessed.
New Stars general manager Jim Nill says he is taking the centerpiece of his first major trade at his word. It’s not often a player goes on the block just three years after going No. 2 in the draft, but there have been reports that the Bruins weren’t happy with Seguin’s exploits off the ice.
“Who are we to judge when you don’t know,” Nill said. “And I think that why I’m excited about today is I think it’s a great chance for Tyler to turn the page. He’s starting a new career here in Dallas. We had a great talk about it. He’s the only one that knows what happened. I just think it’s time to move on and go from there.”
Nill gave up one of Dallas’ steadiest scorers, winger Loui Eriksson, and three younger players to get Seguin, another centre in Rich Peverley and defenceman Ryan Button.
A day later, Nill got Shawn Horcoff from Edmonton for defenceman Philip Larsen and a seventh-round pick in 2016. Horcoff, who played his first 12 seasons for the Oilers, had ties to Nill through a pair of Canadian national teams that won world championships.
Jamie Benn is still in place after leading the Stars in scoring last season, and he will get to move to his more natural position on the wing with all the centres Nill has added. Kari Lehtonen is the starting goalie coming off a strong season.
Otherwise, the roster has seen a significant makeover.
“We’ve made a lot of changes,” Nill said. “You just don’t go down to Walmart or Kmart and pull something off the shelf. It’s an everyday thing and you just keep working at it. We were fortunate. At the right time, the right players became available.”
Nill also hired a new coach, replacing Glen Gulutzan with Lindy Ruff as the Stars try to end a five-year playoff drought, the longest in franchise history dating to 1967 in Minnesota.
“Everyone knows it’s a great city to live and to play, but the biggest thing is we want to get back to winning here,” said Horcoff, who played in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals with Edmonton. “When I first came in the league, that’s what the Dallas Stars were all about. It was a tough building to come in and play.”
Mike Modano was the face of the franchise then and is an adviser now. He attended Tuesday’s event and met Seguin for the first time. A day earlier, he tried to ease the mind of Stars President Jim Lites about the Twitter trouble.
“All Mo said to me, a bit tongue in cheek, but he said, ‘Thank the lord there weren’t cellphones or social media when I was 21,'” Lites said. “That’s not to let anybody off the hook. I don’t want to make light of anything. It’s one of those deals you live and learn and get better.”
And avoid Twitter for a while.