BOSTON -- Tuning into the NHL playoffs is probably pretty unappealing for many players whose teams were recently bounced from the postseason.
The experience of watching other squads battle it out in a quest to capture the Stanley Cup – their ultimate-turned-unachievable goal – simply can’t be easy to stomach. But for NHLers that still have close friends in the mix for hockey’s Holy Grail, finding a reason to root for one team over another becomes a little easier.
Take Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, for example. The B’s were eliminated in painful fashion on Wednesday night, as Boston fell 2-1 in overtime of Game 7 on home ice. Just 24 hours later, the German-born rearguard was pulling for his fellow countrymen in Marco Sturm (also a former teammate in Boston) and Marcel Goc, who were hoping to help lead the Panthers (Seidenberg’s old club) to their first series victory in 16 years.
“Yeah I watched it,” said Seidenberg, whose hopes were ultimately dashed when New Jersey won the winner-take-all tilt in double overtime. “They played a high-speed game and were skating really fast. They could’ve scored at the end of regulation there with that (Kris) Versteeg backhander.
“It just shows every game is so tight and close. They went the other way and they scored. It’s always a bounce here or there that decides it.”
The playoff field is down to eight teams now. If he wanted to, Seidenberg could still have two dogs in the race. In the Western Conference, Nashville is taking on Phoenix, where the 30-year-old blueliner spent parts of two seasons. In the East, one would think Seidenberg might be compelled to root for the team that drafted him, the Flyers, who are coached by Peter Laviolette (his former bench boss down in Carolina).
But when asked who he might be rooting for going forward, Seidenberg confessed he isn’t in any one team’s corner.
“No, not at all,” he said with a smile. “I just want a couple big market teams to be part of it at least so the NHL does well. Other than that, I don’t really care.”
With all apologies to the fans in Phoenix in Philly who once rooted for him, at least Seidenberg is pulling for whatever works best for the NHL.