Seidenberg coming to grips with rough Finals

Seidenberg coming to grips with rough Finals
June 27, 2013, 12:30 pm
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BOSTON – Dennis Seidenberg isn’t a guy that takes too kindly to losing, or to performing at less than an excellent standard.

But the 31-year-old defenseman had some issues at the end of the Stanley Cup Final while ringing up a minus-5 in the last three games against the Chicago Blackhawks, and routinely getting swallowed by the concentrated speed and skill of the Chicago attack. Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara are known for their defensive strength as a shutdown pairing, but they became one of the weaknesses in the final few decisive games that awarded the Cup to the Hawks.

Seidenberg admitted that he pulled a hamstring at the end of the Maple Leafs series that kept him out of the second round against the Rangers, and that hampered his skating ability against speedier opponents. It was the same with Chara battling a hip flexor that really limited his ability to quickly pivot his hips and make quick turns.

Both players weren’t using the injuries as excuses, however, and know that they needed to be sounder defensively against a talented Chicago hockey club.

Chara and Seidenberg went from an impenetrable shutdown pair two years ago that led Boston to the Cup, and instead were exploited by the Blackhawks in the final few games of the Finals. 

“When you come back you’re trying not to think about it, just block it out and play up to your potential. But there were so many other guys like Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] that went through something crazy just to play in Game 6,” said Seidenberg. “You hate when you get scored on. During the run before you didn’t get scored on or give up any goals, but then at the end [of this year’s playoffs] they were going in one after another.

“You get frustrated when you’re used to shutting guys down and keeping them from scoring. One way or another the bounces were there, and the pucks were finding a way in. You hate that feeling. It does get to you, and it’s not that fun. We could have played better, and I could have played better. But we also left everything out there and worked as hard we could.”

That’s all anybody can ask out of any hockey player already compromised by an injury while trying to hold down the NHL’s best players.  

So Seidenberg will return to the Bruins for the final year of his current deal, and is coming off a solid regular season with four goals and 17 points along with a plus-18 in the shortened season. He’ll return extremely motivated to bounce back as a player that built his reputation as a big-game player during the playoffs.

“I’m always motivated. But I think everybody’s going to be hungry again,” said Seidenberg. “I mean, especially the way it ended, nobody wants to sit on that for a long time and try to prove everybody wrong again like we love to do in here. I think we’re going to be ready and hungry.”

As Seidenberg said himself, he’s always a hungry player looking to give every last bit of effort that’s got in the tank. But there might just be a little bit extra Seidenberg feels like he has to prove after playing well below his normal standards on the big stage of the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.