BruinsSenators: 5 from the First

BruinsSenators: 5 from the First

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comOTTAWA Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Senators locked in a scoreless tie at Scotiabank Place at the first 20 minutes of hockey between the two new look teams.1)Going to take a little time to get used to somebody other than Chuck Kobasew wearing No. 12 for the Bruins, but uneventful first period for Tomas Kaberle in the Black and Gold uniform. The one thing you could immediately see with Kaberle despite zero practice time with his teammates was the way his presence is going to allow Zdeno Chara to simply blast away at the right point position. Chara misfired on a couple of his shot attempts, but he was in clear shooting position on Bostons first power play. Six minutes, 27 seconds of ice time in the first period without much either good or bad in Kaberles game.2)Guess the Bruins didnt quite get that energy burst from the roster shuffling as they might have suspected tonight. Its been a pretty dead first period for the Bs while getting outshot 11-5 in the first 20 minutes and being hemmed in their zone for much of it.3)Class move by the Senators to have a jumbotron package of video ready to pay tribute to Chris Kelly in his first game with the Bruins at the friendly confines of Scotiabank Place. Kelly was given a standing ovation from an appreciative Sens crowd in Ottawa, and gave a quick wave in a classy moment during a stoppage in the middle of the first period.4)A couple of shots on net for Alex Kovalev, who has been more active than usual and appears to be in the mood to play now that he might just traded away from a godforsaken Senators team. Why anybody would trade for a moody Russian scorer that only plays when he wants to play is completely beyond me.5)Good first period by Tuukka Rask, who was pressured heavy on a couple of occasions and looked much quicker with his glove hand than he was last night against the Islanders. His best save was a solid pad stop while hugging the right post on a Colin Greening attempt in close.

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.