Dennis Wideman is excited to suit up and play against his former Bruins team, but the excitement isnt about revenge or getting back at the boo-happy fans.
Instead its simply about getting back into the playoffs after missing out on last season with a leg injury that went wrong for the puck-moving defenseman. The hematoma in his leg kept him hospitalized and away from the action after hed been traded to the Caps, so hes looking at this years playoffs as the chance to finally up for Washington as a difference-maker.
It isnt about proving the Bruins wrong for trading him away in exchange for players in Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell that helped the Bruins win the Cup.
He understands thats a business and he turned in his first All-Star worthy season with 46 points as the main offensive defenseman for the Caps.
I dont know if Im motivated by proving anybody wrong. I was in a situation where they had a lot of defensemen and they needed a forward. I was the guy that went the other way. Thats the way I looked at it, said Wideman. When they lost Kessel to Toronto and they needed a top-end scorer.
Horton was the guy they went after and the guy they could give up was on defense. Its business. Thats the way it works. I dont sit there and say I cant believe they traded me because thats not how it is. Look around and watch the other sports. Thats just the way it works.
Its also not about gaining vengeance against a Boston fan base that turned Wideman into a Hal GillJoe Corvo-style whipping boy when the blueliner got off to a very slow start. It got pretty bad for Wideman once the Bs fans focused on each defensive zone misadventure, but he doesnt harbor any ill will towards Boston after two years away from the bad scene.
No. I didnt start off the year as well as I wanted to and the first half was a struggle, said Wideman. I was getting frustrated. Theyre knowledgeable hockey fans, so I assumed they werent too happy with the way I was playing.
They were just being Boston fans. They dont put up with that. Thats just the way it is.While Wideman wouldnt say that revenge was on his mind playing the Bruins this season, he did score a pair of goals in the four regular season matchups. But thats not the ultimate Wideman revenge: that would probably involve celebrating a Washington playoff series victory on the Boston ice that became his tormentor two years ago.
BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings:
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night.
· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season.
· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.
· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league.
· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season.
· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.
· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent.
· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.
BOSTON – When it comes to defense, the Celtics are quick to claim that it is indeed the foundation for which their team is built upon.
Still, far too often this season, we have seen cracks in their usually Teflon-tough defense, the kind that ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
The Celtics’ defense will once again need to step up and play well tonight against a Sacramento squad that has shown it can fill it up offensively of late.
Sacramento (7-11) has scored 100 or more points in eight of their past 10 games. In that span, their 107.2 points per game ranks ninth in the league.
In that same span, the Celtics have allowed opponents to score 100.3 points per game, which ranks 10th in the NBA in fewest points allowed.
And when it comes to winning, limiting teams to less than 100 points has been huge in Boston’s win total.
The Celtics have held eight opponents to 100 points or less this season.
Their record in those games? 8-0.
Within that limited scoring, Boston must also make sure teams don’t get into a nice groove shooting the ball.
Boston is 0-5 this season when an opponent shoots 48 percent or better from the field.
While there are several things Boston must do to be successful, having the right kind of defensive disposition ranks at or near the top of that list in their efforts to play with the kind of defensive success that gave so many hope that this would the year Boston would hold court among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder.