BOSTON – Dennis Seidenberg is a lot like an offensive lineman in football.
The only time the rock-solid, underrated defenseman is noticed is when he makes a rare mistake, or ends up on the ice for a goal against as he did in Game 1 during triple overtime.
Seidenberg was chasing after his discarded glove in the corner when Andrew Shaw scored the game-winning tip, and there’s little doubt someone who's as hard on himself as Seidenberg beat himself up over it. But truth be told ,there’s no guarantee Seidenberg could have done anything differently on the play, and the good always outweighs the bad by a wide margin when the tough Boston blueliner is concerned.
Seidenberg isn’t much of a glory hound, and is probably as harsh a self-critic as you’ll find among players in the NHL. He still thinks he could have been better two years ago in Boston’s Stanley Cup run when everybody was in agreement that he was the dark-horse Conn Smythe candidate.
So it was a little different and more than a little deserving that Seidenberg, who absorbs big minutes with little effect on his game and racks up all the painful categories like blocked shots and registered hits, was recognized with the Army Ranger jacket as the player of the game after Boston’s 2-0 victory over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden.
“For the most part I think we kept [the Blackhawks to] the outside, blocked a lot of shots and took care of the rebounds,” said Tuukka Rask, who earned the shutout with 28 saves on the day. “That's always a positive sign in my mind.”
Seidenberg blocked six shots, threw out four hits and helped defensive partner Zdeno Chara lock down the Jonathan Toews line once again. It spearheaded a winning defensive effort that squeezed the life out of the Blackhawks.
Even better was the recognition from his teammates when Chris Kelly handed the player-of-the-game camouflage jacket to the German blueliner following the Game 3 victory.
“It's something nice when you hear something like that about you” said a smiling Seidenberg. “That's my job. I haven't really been scoring, doing anything offensively. I better do that stuff. It's fun. I enjoy playing tough minutes and doing the little things, just like everybody else in this room. We all thrive in tough games.”
What’s been fun for Rask?
Watching Johnny Boychuk (57 blocked shots) and Seidenberg (49 blocked shots) rank as the top two playoff performers in the category of stepping in front of opponent’s shots, and taking away those scoring chances coming from the middle strip of ice in the offensive zone.
“[Seidenberg] very much deserves the credit," said Chara. "He logs a lot of minutes. He plays a physical game. He’s willing to play whatever role we ask him to do, and for sure he’s a warrior.”
Seidenberg has always been a warrior for the Bruins since arriving in an incredibly one-sided trade with the Florida Panthers four years ago, so a little gesture of recognition from his teammates in Game 3 can go a long way for such a dedicated physical defenseman.