WILMINGTON -- Dennis Seidenberg said he knew immediately things were serious when his right knee buckled under the pressure on Ottawa's Cory Conacher collapsing on his leg. The German defenseman let out a scream and then muttered to himself as he limped off the ice. His fears were confirmed a day later when it was announced that the torn ACL and MCL in his right knee would cost him the rest of the season.
The 6-8 month recovery timetable would have him ready for July, and give him a full summer to work out for next year.
“It used to be when you had an ACL that it was career-ending, I guess,” said Seidenberg. “But they know how to take care of it, and they say that I’m going to be back to normal hopefully . . . It just takes a while.
Seidenberg has never torn an ACL before, and both the season-ending surgery and rehab are new things to the 32-year-old B’s blueliner. He received a phone call on Sunday from fellow German Marco Sturm, who returned from blowing out his ACL/MCL with the Bruins four years ago.
Seidenberg will undoubtedly lean on Sturm post-surgery when he begins to rehab the injury, but for now he’s just coming to grips with the fact his 2013-14 season is officially over.
“It’s very disappointing," he said. "Right now I’m in good spirits, but I know the rehab is going to be tough with a lot of ups and downs. We have a great team again this year, and to not be a part of it for such a long time is going to be tough. But the guys are going to be fine. There’s a lot of depth on this team, and I’m sure they’re going to be good.
“I definitely want to stay involved, and I definitely want to see what’s going on. I want to be in the room with the guys, but it’s going to be annoying watching from upstairs. You’re always the best player when you’re watching from up top. But it will also be a learning process for me.”
The Bruins called up Kevan Miller from Providence as a long-term replacement for Seidenberg among the top six D-men, and Dougie Hamilton returned to practice on Monday without yet being cleared for contact. So they have some size, strength and toughness returning to the lineup with the 6-foot-1, 210-pound chiseled German defenseman headed to long-term injured reserve.
“I think sometimes things can get over-analyzed with these injuries," Claude Julien said. "I’m not expecting Torey Krug to step up and turn into a hitting machine. He’s going to continue to play his game, and do the best he can. It’s up to us as a coaching staff to put the pairs together depending on who we’re playing against, and what the situation is going to be. That’s why you’ve seen different pairings in every game whether it’s the top lines, whether it’s size or whether it’s something else.
“We’re trying to work around that. When you’re missing Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg in one game, you’re missing a lot of size and strength. Even though our other guys battled hard, you’ve got to be honest that you don’t have that same size and presence as far as separating guys from pucks and getting it out of your own end quickly. Once Chara is back then you’re down just Seidenberg, and you have a big, strong guy in Miller coming in. [Seidenberg] has always been a good playoff performer for us, and maybe at that point you see where you are. Whether we make a deal or we’re happy with what we have, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
There’s no replacing Seidenberg, but the Bruins will attempt to find a solution within their own young, talented ranks before reaching out into other organizations for somebody who may be able to help make up for the loss of the skills, strengths and attributes of an irreplaceable player in Seidenberg.