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.

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

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"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.

Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new

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Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new

Here are the links from all around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while happy to be back in the city of Boston.

*The Buffalo Sabres don’t sound happy about the accusations against Evander Kane that cropped up during NHL Draft weekend, why would they be?

*NHL teams can now start discussing free agents, exchanging ideas with them and start the chase up to July 1.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the biggest winners in the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a shocker: the Bruins aren’t among them.

*A good piece from Alex Prewitt on the importance of the land line phones on the draft floor during NHL Draft weekend.

*The Edmonton Oilers are another team that didn’t come out of draft weekend with a defenseman, and are still in search of their back end help.

*A nice piece on Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Pascal Laberge, who could have been plucked by the Bruins at No. 29 rather than Trent Frederic.

*Bruce Garrioch has his Sunday NHL notes, and says that Steven Stamkos appears destined to play somewhere other than Tampa Bay.

*For something completely different: Jonah Keri has TV critic Alan Sepinwall on his podcast, and one can only hope it’s to explain how and why he could have disliked last week’s episode of Game of Thrones.