BOSTON -- Once again, Dennis Seidenberg and Wade Redden were out on the ice for Friday afternoon’s practice at TD Garden, and once again, Claude Julien said they were “progressing” toward a potential return. Andrew Ference is still out of the mix while continuing to wear a cast on his left foot, and it appears his return is still a long range issue for the Black and Gold.
The Bruins coach wasn’t tipping his hand at all for Saturday afternoon’s plan for Game 5, but 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton has been on the ice for five of the last seven goals allowed for the Bruins. The talented young B’s defenseman was also blaming himself for New York’s overtime game-winning during Boston’s 4-3 loss to the Blueshirts at Madison Square Garden in Game 4.
So it would appear the need is there for Seidenberg to slide back into the lineup replacing Hamilton as Zdeno Chara’s defensive partner, and the only question that remains is his overall health outlook entering the weekend. One thing the Bruins veterans haven’t been able to do is really help mentor young D-men like Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski as they recover from injuries.
“I don’t think they can offer much, to be honest with you, right now, the way those guys have played. If they were a little nervous and you could see apprehension, then you expect your veterans to step in and tell them to relax, things coaches will do,” said Julien. “But right now those guys have been playing well enough, I don’t think they need any advice right now.
“We haven’t given them much either, as a coaching staff, because they’ve played well. We’ve talked about correcting a few mistakes here and there, but that’s about it. Let them play.”
The outstanding poise, production and overall play from Trug and Bartkowski means both players will most likely stick in the lineup when all of the Boston defensemen return to good health in the next week or two. Instead, a simple Seidenberg-for-Hamilton transaction would appear to be the choice for the Bruins, and that will bring back the return of Boston’s top playoff shutdown pair of Seidenberg and Chara.