Seidenberg shaking off a deceiving start

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Seidenberg shaking off a deceiving start

BOSTON -- A quick perusal of the stat sheet may prompt the question: Whats wrong with Dennis Seidenberg?

He has just two assists thus far after sharing the team lead in points during last years run to the Stanley Cup, and only Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk have collected goals for the Bs defensemen group. To be fair, all of Bostons defensemen have battled false starts this season, so Seidenberg isnt alone.

But theres a lot more going on than simple, obvious statistics when it comes to Seidenbergs game through his first 11 appearances for the Bs, and the things he really does well on the ice sometimes go unnoticed.

I kind of feel like Im still playing at a high level. But the more we go the more I start to doubt myself a little bit, said Seidenberg. Its tough. I have a lot of shots, Ive got my hits and Ive got my blocked shots. Ive just got to keep doing all of those things and simply hope that its coming.

When I look at the stats though which Im definitely not supposed to it doesnt help. I always creep back to the stat sheet and Im like what the hell is going on? Im all the way at the bottom. But at the end of it you have to look at how youre playing on the ice, and judge it by that.

The 29-year-old defenseman is coming off the aforementioned stellar performance during the Cup playoffs that had everybody trumpeting Seidenberg as the single biggest factor behind their championship behind the breathtaking belly-flop saves of one Tim Thomas.

But Seidenberg has managed only two points and a minus-3 in his first 11 games this season, and is on pace for a meager 14 points at the rate hes currently producing.

He managed a plus-3 in Saturday nights win against the Maple Leafs that makes everything a bit more bearable, and hes hoping a simple, quiet, productive evening of hockey can break open a stretch of positive performances in a five game Bs homestand that begins Monday night against the Islanders.

It appears Seidenberg and Joe Corvo have started spending more time together as a defensive pair in the last few games, and thats led to some good puck movement moments for the Bruins in decisive wins over the Senators and Leafs. The Bruins will continue to rotate defensemen, but expect to see that combo more if they continue to work well together with Corvo skating on the right side.

Last game against Toronto I felt good out there and I ended up with a plus-3, so thats a positive step in the right direction, said Seidenberg, with a smile on his face. I just have to make sure Im on the ice with the guys when theyre scoring some goals.

Hes squeezed off 31 shots on net only Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Zdeno Chara have more shots on goal this season but many of those attempts came early in the season when the Bruins werent getting enough bodies in front of the net.

But whatever the reason, Seidenberg is looking for heightened production.

Thats way off what the raised expectations were going into the season, and certainly not where Seidenberg saw himself after last season. The blueliner is second behind Zdeno Chara with 24:46 of ice time this season for the Bs, and has been thrown into defensemen combinations with every member of the blueline corps. Very seldom has Claude Julien placed Seidenberg and Chara together this season, however, after the two skaters dominated as a shutdown defensemen pairing during the playoffs.

Understandably, Julien is attempting to spread the wealth and keep at least one of the two defensemen on the ice at nearly all times, but thats meant a slowdown for Seidenbergs offensive game he hopes turns around quickly.

It would be a mistake to judge Seidenberg simply by his raw offensive numbers, however.
Seidenberg leads the Bruins with 33 hits, and is one of the few members of the Black and Gold tribe thats brought the physicality from the very start of the season. He also leads the Bruins with 29 blocked shots, and fills up the event summary box score each night he straps on those loud hockey skates everybody can hear approaching from a country mile on the ice.

Just as much as his cacophonous skates, it appears that opponents can hear Seidenbergs game approaching to peak form at just the right time for the Bruins.

Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

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Talking Points from the Bruins OT winner

GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.

BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.

TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.

HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner. 

Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement). CSN has confirmed that Ehrhoff has indeed agreed to a PTO with the Bruins, and he'll report to the team sometime this weekend.

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.