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Top prospect Seguin sees plenty of ink these days

Tyler Seguin can add another accolade to his already bulky resume: Ultimate team guy.

On this afternoon, just a couple of weeks before he's expected to get his name called first or second at the National Hockey League draft, Seguin's set aside time amid a strenuous schedule to take his buddy to a tattoo parlour.

"Just being a good teammate," Seguin cracks.

He doesn't need to get inked himself, the 18-year-old already owns a tattoo.

On Monday in Toronto, EA Sport previewed NHL '11 with Chicago Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews (left), who will be on the game's cover, going head to head against top NHL draft prospect Tyler Seguin. - Photo by The Canadian Press/EA Sports

Tyler Seguin can add another accolade to his already bulky resume: Ultimate team guy.

On this afternoon, just a couple of weeks before he's expected to get his name called first or second at the National Hockey League draft, Seguin's set aside time amid a strenuous schedule to take his buddy to a tattoo parlour.

"Just being a good teammate," Seguin cracks.

He doesn't need to get inked himself, the 18-year-old already owns a tattoo.

"It's just my last name over the back of my arm, just so I can say (pause), I wear my heart on my sleeve."

Clearly, Seguin won't need a lot of time to become a reporter's dream - the 18-year-old is already a quote machine.

The Plymouth Whalers centre has had plenty of practice. While his pal is inside for an hour getting the needle, Seguin has three straight phone interviews to conduct before he can call it a day.

That's pretty much standard - the media requests for the player ensconced in a 'like-it-or-not' rivalry with fellow Ontario Hockey League star Taylor Hall are astronomical.

"I don't really get tired of it, but sometimes you joke with them and say, 'Hey, you can look at my answer from four months ago for the answer to that question.' "

He's already answered any pressing questions from NHL scouts regarding ability.

Seguin scorched the OHL to the tune of 48 goals and 58 assists for 106 points in 63 games this past season.

He was named the Red Tilson Trophy winner as league's most outstanding player and tied with Hall for the points lead.

And yet when you talk about Tyler, the inevitable comparison with Taylor of the Windsor Spitfires is close at hand.

Seguin ended the regular season as the top-ranked prospect by NHL Central Scouting, Hall followed by a nose. That's been the story all year as the two flip-flopped between first and second.

And so we head toward Friday's draft in Los Angeles without a definitive No. 1 - unlike the previous two summers with John Tavares and Steven Stamkos going first overall.

Central scouting director E.J. McGuire gets his own series of repetitive questions these days, most of them go kind of like this: What's the difference between the two stars?

"None. Zero."

"One plays left-wing, (but he) can play centre. The other is a centre who can play left-wing," McGuire offers.

He's not being coy. Check out the process for the final evaluation.

"Central Scouting is a group of nine full-time scouts that met for seven days and each day I asked that group of nine who would they take: Hall or Seguin. Each day the vote was 5-4 and each of the seven days it was a different player."

Seguin plays down the rivalry while realizing it is unavoidable.

Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci, who saw a lot of Hall the past two seasons in the OHL, adds there's not much of a comparison in style.

"Definitely opposite styles. Taylor Hall's a great player and he's very entertaining, he's a highlight-reel type player, where Tyler Seguin makes all those around him better. He sees the ice, he slows the pace down, he speeds it up when he has to, and controls the play a lot more than Taylor I think."

At the NHL combine in late May. Seguin finished tied for second in anaerobic fitness and was a top-three in body fat percentage among the 100 top draft prospects.

The only disappointment for Seguin at the combine? The Brampton. Ont., native didn't get the chance to meet colourful Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

"(Toronto) talked to me for a quick meeting, but it wasn't Brian Burke. I was a little disappointed because I had some questions for him, being a Toronto boy. I was going to ask him if I was ever going to see a Stanley Cup in my backyard," he said with a laugh.

WHO'LL GO FIRST?

Bruins, Oilers won't tip hands

The Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins, who own the top two picks in this weekend's NHL draft, have done all they can to evaluate top prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin.

Now the teams have to figure each other out.

The Oilers aren't saying which way they are leaning, hoping to extract some concessions from the Bruins in a trade that would allow Edmonton to still draft the player it wants at No. 1 overall. The Bruins insist they will be happy at No. 2 with whichever skater the Oilers don't choose.

"Right now, we have one guy over the other. But it's very close," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday. "Nothing is really imminent now. There's no pressure. There's really no need to talk in detail right now."

Chiarelli spoke again with Oilers counterpart Steve Tambellini over the weekend, but until the deadline of the draft looms larger, the conversations don't seem to be zeroing in on a deal.

Hall and Seguin, who tied for the OHL scoring lead, are the consensus top two picks in the draft, but there's little to separate them. Seguin was the league MVP; Hall is the only player in the 92-year history of the Memorial Cup to win the tournament MVP in back-to-back years.

The Bruins are believed to covet Hall, a left wing who is represented by Boston legend Bobby Orr and would love to follow in his agent's footsteps. They would consider giving Edmonton something in exchange for allowing Hall to slip to second, but neither team will admit to a strong enough preference for them to agree on a price.

"Neither of us is really committed to moving forward on that type of discussion," Chiarelli said. "Right now, if the draft was tonight, I'd say there would be no deal."

That would be a shame, according to no less of an authority than Orr himself.

"You've got to take the best player," Orr said this month. "Hall is the best player, although I do represent him. I would obviously love to see him in Boston, but I don't think that's going to happen."

Chiarelli said the Bruins would not trade out of the No. 2 spot - unless it was to move up. But the Bruins also have the No. 15 selection and two second rounders, and those could be on the table.

Organizations: National Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, Boston Bruins Edmonton Oilers Maple Leafs

Geographic location: Los Angeles, Toronto, Edmonton Boston

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