BruinsMaple Leafs: 5 from the Second

BruinsMaple Leafs: 5 from the Second

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Leafs locked in a 2-2 tie at the TD Garden after the first 40 minutes of a game thats taken a back seat to the trade rumor mill.1)Tyler Seguin has 9:21 of ice time thus far in the game, and give him a lot of credit for really continuing to show just committed he is to avoiding the healthy scratch status for the time being. Seguin has been knocked down on multiple occasions while going straight to the front of the net or the lions den as some might call it during possessions in the offensive zone. Seguin got crushed by Keith Aulie before the puck had arrived near the net midway through the second period and drew an interference call that led to a power play. Seguin is really showing some progress since his two-game sit down. 2)The Bs first power play unit hasnt done much tonight, but the second unit is really threatening for more time with the way theyre producing and scrapping for goals. Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell teamed for a power play goal at the end of the second period when Marchand was crushed right before releasing the shot. James Reimer gave up a high rebound and Gregory Campbell swatted it through for a goal. Theyre not dazzling anyone with their skill, but Campbell and Marchand are muscling pucks past goalies on the PP.3)Mark Stuart played less than two minutes in the second period after throwing around some bodies in the first period and setting up a goal. Wonder if theres a reason the Bruins curbed his ice time and minutes in the second? Hes up front and center in the Bs trade rumors, so do stay tuned.4)Mikhail Grabovski with a little frontier justice on the Bruins when he went after David Krejci in the second period. The Leafs forward was blasted behind the Boston net by a violent Zdeno Chara hit, and Grabovski was slow to get to the Toronto bench afterward. So Grabovski came in high on Krejci with a high stickglove to the head area, and was called for a high-stick as Krejci skated off checking to make sure all his teeth were intact.5)Six shots for Dion Phaneuf over the first two periods in an active game for the Leafs. Meanwhile his brother in combat, Nathan Horton, has one shot on net in 8:14 of ice time and hasnt done a whole heck of a lot.

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.