TORONTO -- Loui Eriksson's Movember mustache is not exactly popular on the home front these days.
"I don't think my kids like it," chuckled Eriksson, who has three daughters, after Monday's morning skate. "But it's for a month, just a few more days left. And it's for a good cause, so..."
So he can afford to smile these days, which is really the story here. The 30-year-old Goteborg native is playing his finest hockey since the famous Tyler Seguin trade that brought him to the Boston Bruins two and a half years ago.
With a team-leading nine goals entering Monday night's contest at the Toronto Maple Leafs, this is the Eriksson that the Bruins were envisioning getting in the 2013 offseason.
"I see a lot [in his game] of what was told to me when we got him: He's a very reliable player, he's smart, he's got great hockey sense, but he's also capable of producing," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said Monday morning, effusive in his praise of Eriksson. "He's showing that. Last year I was seeing some of that as well, but right now he's a pretty good pace goal-wise and he's playing well. He's killing penalties, I use him in all situations."
Eriksson did put up 22 goals amid his 47 points last season, but you still felt there was more there, that he wasn't quite back to his Dallas days when he dominated games at times, scoring a career high 36 goals in 2008-09 followed by three 70-plus point seasons.
We're seeing a bit more of that offensive touch so far this season.
"He was a real good player when he was in Dallas," said Leafs head coach Mike Babcock on Monday. "Then he had the concussions and wasn't the same player. It appears he has his confidence back, he's at the net and he's playing on a good line."
Perhaps it's just taken that long for him to get acclimated after the most unlucky entry one could ever imagine, Eriksson suffering not one, but two concussions within his first handful of games with the Bruins in the 2013-14 season. What an awful way to gain entry to a new team in such a high-profile trade.
"It was definitely tough, you're coming to a new team and you want to show them that you're good, and all of sudden you get that," said Eriksson. "It had never happened to me before. I never missed that many games before that in my career. So it was tough, new team, new city, and for the family as well, we're trying to find a place to live, there were a lot of things going on that first year. Definitely not the easiest way to start with a new team."
But that was then -- knock on wood -- he's healthy now and having an impact.
Just don't go looking for Seguin comparisons. Julien long ago made sure Eriksson doesn't either.
"I think I did talk to him in the past. I said, 'Listen, we're not asking you to be him. We're asking you to be you, just go out there and be yourself,'" Julien said. "He's pretty smart, I don't think he's ever tried to compare himself to Tyler. Tyler's strengths are his strengths, and Loui's strengths are his. Loui excels in other areas of the game that Tyler doesn't and vice-versa. It's a trade that I think that was good for both teams. There's no doubt that Tyler is an elite player but we're not disappointed in Loui, that's for sure."
What you sense in the Bruins' room are teammates genuinely happy for Eriksson's early season success; cheering for a guy that has to live with the burden of being traded for a guy that might win a number of NHL scoring titles over the next decade.
"Lots of people judge him on the Seguin trade, and they compare those two, but they're totally different players," said linemate David Krecji. "They're both very good players. Loui is so good at all the little details, he's very good at both ends of the ice. And so far this year, the puck is going in the net for him. It's fun to see."
Eriksson insisted he's not preoccupied with the Seguin part of it all.
"That's something I try to keep out of it," he said, shrugging. "Of course you get a lot of questions about it, especially the first year and even last year. You just focus on your own game. We're not the same type of player, I'm just trying to do what I'm good at and play my game."
Eriksson's confidence is at its highest since his Dallas days. I mentioned to him what Patrick Kane once told me during a slump midway through the 2013 playoffs when the Chicago Blackhawks star said he was trying to get out of it by watching all the goals he had ever scored before in the NHL on video. It worked for him.
Guess what, Eriksson has done that too during his time in Boston.
"Yeah, I think that's really important, the mental side, you try to get a good feeling," said Eriksson. "And that's a good way, you go back and see what you did good in the games you scored, I've watched my goals, too. You get a nice feeling from it. Because you know you've done it and you can do it again. You get that in your mind. When you feel confidence, you play good, so it's definitely important."
Right now, there's definitely nothing to complain about.
"I feel like my game is where it should be right now," said Eriksson. "I'm feeling good. I just have to keep it going."