BruinsBlackhawks: 5 from the Second

BruinsBlackhawks: 5 from the Second

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Blackhawks by a 2-0 score at TD Garden after a fast-paced first 40 minutes.1)Bruins finally get through after continuing to throw bodies at the front of the net, and finding daylight to get point shots through. Zdeno Chara ricochets a shot off Brian Campbell and past Corey Crawford with Mark Recchi waiting on the doorstep, and Johnny Boychuk gets a knuckling long shot past Crawford after firing from just inside the blue line. Looked like that shot deflected off Troy Brouwer as well.2)Nasty looking incident with Shawn Thornton as he appeared to catch a skate blade above the right eye that ripped his forehead open, and then Thornton appeared to shove ref Don VanMassenhoven as he was attempting to get to the Chicago bench after somebody chirped him as he skated off the ice. Not very classy from Chicago, but no indication who exactly was yelling at Thornton as he skated off. No penalty after a bloodied Thornton shoved VanMassenhoven, and Thornton never returned in the second period.3)12 shots on net for Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi after two periods including seven shots on net for Bergeron as hes showing up Jonathan Toews in the match of Selke Trophy candidates.4)A tip of the cap to Recchi, who has appeared to be in playoff form tonight and had heavy involvement in both Boston goals. The first was a screen in front for Charas shot and then Recchi found Boychuk just over the blue line for his knuckling blast. The assist was point no. 1,532 for Recchi, which gives him sole possession of 12th place all-time on the NHL point list.5)Jonathan Toews and Pat Kane looking like they have zero legs and zero desire to win this game tonight. This is why a talented Blackhawks team is scrapping just to get into the playoffs.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.