May 16, 2012

Bruins Clubhouse: Consistent Seidenberg comes up big

By Jesse Connolly

When Dennis Seidenberg arrived in Boston via a trade with the Florida Panthers in 2010, most Bruins fans didn’t know much about him. In fact, many probably didn’t even realize that Seidenberg quietly had played a huge role in the Hurricanes knocking out the Bruins a year prior, as the German-born blueliner effectively shut down Boston’s big guns throughout the series. 

But the Bruins’ brass, as well as coach Claude Julien, were fully aware he had a reputation for stepping up when the games mattered most.

“I think he’s the guy that’s always been good in the playoffs, even before he came to us,” Julien said during Boston’s first-round series against Washington. “He’s been known as a big-game player, and he continues to show that.”

After leading Bruins defensemen in points and the entire NHL in blocked shots during last year’s postseason, Seidenberg was a force against the Capitals and proved to be Boston’s most consistent player during their unexpectedly short playoff run.

Regularly matched up against the Caps’ top offensive threats, Seidenberg was a workhorse and did a tremendous job of stifling Washington’s attack. He helped limit Alex Ovechkin to just two goals in the seven-game series, regularly terrorizing the superstar winger with one punishing hit after another.

“He’s always physical,” Seidenberg said of Ovechkin. “He’s a very solid guy and as you can tell, it’s a good challenge. I think me and (Zdeno Chara) both thrive on that stuff.”

Though Seidenberg and the rest of the Bruins had a bigger body of work to go off of last spring, the underrated defenseman once again proved how vital a component he is to the Bruins’ success.

“Zdeno is as good as you’ll get as a defenseman, but when it comes to playoff time, ‘Seids’ isn’t that far behind him, if at all,” Julien said. “So, he’s been a real good player for us, a real force (and) physical. He loves these kinds of challenges and he thrives on it. You need those kinds of players to succeed.”

While many players run out of gas come playoff time, Seidenberg didn’t feel the least bit overworked.

“We played a lot of hockey and we didn’t have a lot of off-time, but it’s fun,” Seidenberg said. “Personally, I didn’t feel it was too much. It was a good experience and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.”

THE STAT

The Bruins have concluded their season with a Game 7 in each of their past six trips to the playoffs. They are 1-5.

TWEET JESSE

Each month, Jesse Connolly poses a question to Bruins Nation on Twitter. Follow and reply to @JesseNEHJ, and we’ll print the best responses. This month’s question:

Which #Bruins player disappointed you the most during the playoffs?

@pfitz7: @JesseNEHJ Krejci over Lucic in a photo finish. Lucic used to be a big game player but not anymore. Krejci was invisible. Not acceptable.

@Andy_Deossa: @JesseNEHJ Lucic. No physical edge, no presence, no production. B’s needed spark from top line and he didn’t deliver.

@Hawgs38: @JesseNEHJ Lucic. He was a passenger last yr and the team carried him. W/o Horton, the B’s NEEDED 17 to return the favor. Instead? Invisible

@NHLFANATIC28: @JesseNEHJ if I had to single one out, it would be Marchand. Not only did he not show up for the series, he resorted to diving #nhlepidemic

@rosieshockey: @JesseNEHJ I’ll go w/Krejci. After leading the team in scoring last year’s postseason he, like Looch, was pretty much invisible vs. Caps.

@DennizNasty: @JesseNEHJ David Krejci for me. Very inconsistent. Especially after some of his post playoff comments. Sounds like the guys over at Fenway.

@Cnt_Scrutinizer: @JesseNEHJ Pouliot. A 3rd liner cannot take penalties late in games (Caps score game 5) and he needed to get puck in deep on OT winner gm 7

@BWoodward_HI: @JesseNEHJ Has to be Lucic. 5 goals in his last 32 playoff games is seriously underwhelming. Especially for a top line player.

THE QUOTE

‘These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization.’

— The Boston Bruins’ statement on fans directing racial slurs at Capitals forward Joel Ward

THE NOTES

After leading the NHL in plus-minus (plus-36) and faceoff wins (973)  in 2011-12, Patrice Bergeron fittingly was named one of the three finalists for the Selke Trophy, which is annually awarded to the league’s top defensive forward. Bergeron, widely considered to be due for a nomination heading into the season, will be competing with St. Louis’ David Backes and a three-time winner in Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk. …

Also in the running for a trophy of his own at the NHL awards show in June is Zdeno Chara, who hopes to take home his second Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. Boston’s behemoth captain led all blueliners in plus-minus (plus-33) and ranked fourth at his position with 52 points (a career high). He’ll be up against Nashville’s Shea Weber, who finished second in the voting to Nicklas Lidstrom last year, and Ottawa’s offensive dynamo Erik Karlsson, who ran away with the unofficial scoring title among defensemen with a whopping 78 points. …

The Bruins unveiled their list of injuries on breakup day:

* Heading the list of banged-up Bruins was Bergeron, who had a broken nose and a strained oblique muscle that severely limited his abilities on the ice.

* Chara sustained a broken nose on a high-stick from Alex Ovechkin in Game 6.

* Tyler Seguin had a detached tendon on one of his knuckles that likely will require surgery.

* Tuukka Rask won’t need surgery after recovering from a groin/abdomen injury.

* Adam McQuaid confirmed he’d suffered a concussion in March, which kept him out for all of the playoffs. Both he and Nathan Horton, who suffered a concussion in January, are expected to make full recoveries.

“I met with ‘Horts,’ and he was good and said he’s feeling a lot better and looking forward to next year,” GM Peter Chiarelli said.

CONNECT WITH JESSE

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jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of New England Hockey Journal.