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.