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.

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

Spooner on trade rumors: 'I definitely want to play here'

BOSTON -- Ryan Spooner has definitely heard the reports out there that he’s being shopped in trade by the Boston Bruins, and he played like a guy that didn’t want to be moved in Monday’s win over the Florida Panthers at TD Garden.

Spooner had his good skating legs, created chances for his teammates and set up the third period goal that got the B’s into overtime when he flipped a shot at the net that was tipped in by David Backes while camped out around the crease. Spooner finished with an assist and a plus-1 rating along with five shot attempts in his 14:24 of ice time, and looked much more like the energized, creative player that was at the heart of some pretty good offensive things last season.

In other words, Spooner looked much more like the talented young player that finished with 13 goals and 49 points last season while centering the third line.

“I think there were five or six games there where I felt I wasn’t playing a bad game. Then six or seven games there where it was hard to get, I guess, the ice time that I wanted,” said Spooner. “At the end of the day, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent.

“I just have to go out there and use my speed and my skill and I found that in the game here. I thought that I did that and I just need to play with that, and I should be fine.”

Multiple sources have indicated to CSN New England that the Bruins are talking about a possible Ryan Spooner deal with multiple teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and New York Islanders. Part of it is certainly the need for the Bruins to collect a bit more goal-scoring as Monday night’s win was just the eighth time in 26 games this season that Boston’s offense has scored more than two goals.

Part of it is also, however, a challenging season for Spooner where he’s been in and out of Claude Julien’s dog house while getting dropped to the fourth line at times, and even being left off the power play a handful of times as well. He’s played out of position at left wing rather than center and has underachieved to three goals and nine points in 25 games largely played with David Krejci and David Backes.

Whatever the history and the number of potential trade scenarios, Spooner said was “fed up” with all of it in his own words as he headed into Monday night’s game, and one thing remained true above all else: He wants to stick around as a member of the Bruins.

“I try to just put it in the back of my mind. When I was 17, I went through the same thing [in junior hockey]. I definitely want to play here,” said Spooner. “I want to help out and that’s kind of where I’m at now. If I play like I did [against the Panthers], I think I’ll be fine. I just want to go out, I want to help out, and that’s kind of where I’m at right now.”

The Black and Gold are looking for a top-6 forward capable of putting the puck in the net on the trade market in any possible deal involving Spooner, but it would seem that the 23-year can control his own destiny in Boston if he starts generating offense and putting the puck in the net. Spooner did just that on Monday night while setting up a third period goal, and lo and behold the Bruins offense posted four goals after struggling to get more than two for most of the season.

That could turn into the kind of trend that keeps Spooner in Boston if he knocks out the inconsistency in his game, and instead steps on the gas pedal and brings the speed and skill that got him to the NHL in the first place. 

Chara 'felt pretty good' in first game back

Chara 'felt pretty good' in first game back

BOSTON -- Zdeno Chara knew which question was coming, so he didn’t even wait for it to be asked in the postgame B’s dressing room.

“I felt pretty good for the first game. It was a good game to come back,” said Chara, who finished with a minus-1 rating in 23:31 of ice time. “Obviously, Florida is a very good skating team and it is always kind of challenging to play them. But I had no issues. It felt good to be back and, obviously, big win.”

Surprisingly the Bruins didn’t have many issues from a defensive standpoint in the six games that their captain missed with a lower body injury, and finished with a 3-2-1 record and 10 goals allowed in the aforementioned six games.

That was something Chara, off to the best start to a season in at least a couple of years, remarked on both right before and after returning to the B’s lineup on Monday.

“I was very proud. It was exciting to see how they battled and it’s never easy. Every game is a challenge and every game is a big game,” said Chara, who has one goal and six points along with a plus-11 rating in 20 games this season. “There’s never an easy game. But guys were battling. They were playing some hard opponents and they won some really big games by gutsy efforts.”

Still it was good to get Chara back into the mix as a top shutdown pairing with 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and that allowed the rest of the defensive pieces to fall into place for the Black and Gold.

Clearly there was a little bit of rust on Chara after just practicing for a couple of days and he’ll really be pushed with so many games coming up in a short period of time, but it is nearly impossible to push the 39-year-old out of the lineup after he’s worked his way back in. The timing, the reads and the positioning will all get back to top form quickly for the 19-year veteran, but his coach thought it was a good first step with him while showing no issues moving around on his skates throughout the game.

“He played okay. It was his first game back and, you know, a lot of responsibility,” said Julien. “You expect guys to work themselves back in, and I think he did a good job.”

Now Chara will focus on working himself back into the rhythm he was in prior to the injury, and preparing his nearly 40-year-old body for the grinding schedule that awaits them for the rest of this month.