Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Senators

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Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Senators

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Here are five lingering thoughts from Thursday nights 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden where the Bruins really dominated play for at least 23 of the game.

1) Great to see Adam McQuaid wearing the A as an alternate captain for Thursdays game, along with normal letter carriers in Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara.
Clearly the Bruins are searching for another alternate captain with the retirement of Mark Recchi, and theyve handed the 'A' off to Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly, among others. McQuaid isnt the loudest guy in the room and hes certainly among the younger group of players, but there isnt a harder worker or a more conscientious kid than the strapping 6-foot-5 defenseman. Hes a great lead by example kind of player. Claude Julien may decided to simply rotate the second A among several of the players in his dressing room this season, and that might be the best way to go given the large group of leaders within the team.

2) Tim Thomas looked better in losing to the Senators than he did in his first preseason game against the Islanders, but the 37-year-old still doesnt look quite Vezina ready.
Thomas really wasnt challenged all that much in the first two periods while facing only 10 shots, but he got a little more action in the third. There were some solid stops within those Senators shots, but its not inaccurate to say Tuukka Rask has outplayed his goaltender partner to this point in the preseason. Thomas will get the nod again on Saturday against the Islanders in Bridgeport for a final season tune-up, and should be opening night starter barring anything unforeseen. But as everyone remembers Rask was the opening night starter last season, and that didnt last for very long.

3) Rich Peverley has been a difference-maker on the power play during the preseason and looks like hell be seeing much more specials team play this season.
He finished with four shots on net and over four minutes of power-play ice time, and his combination of puck creativity and skating speed allows the Bs to sustain possession in the offensive zone. Peverley really didnt factor much into anything toward the end of last years regular season once he arrived, but he looks like a legitimate difference-maker this season as a top-six forward.

4) It sounds like Tyler Seguin is going to be getting a lot more power-play ice time this season working off the half wall.
Seguin was one of the Bs regulars that sat out Thursday nights game against the Senators, but Claude Julien indicated that the supremely skilled 19-year-old was one of Bostons choices to help upgrade the man advantage this season. If Seguin gets consistent power play time the chances are pretty good that his offensive stats are going to rise considerably this season flashing shooting and passing off the half wall. I think that half board is a pretty important position and you know, Tyler's Seguin a guy that we're looking at right now that can hopefully step in and do that job, said Julien.

5) Its looking like there may be room for both Jordan Caron and Chris Clark on the Bruins roster to break training camp.
Claude Julien confirmed hes had discussions with GM Peter Chiarelli about carrying a roster of 23 players to start the regular season, which would allow for 14 forwards including a pair of extras and seven defensemen along with the two goaltenders. Both Caron and Clark again played strong games on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators despite no point production from either player. Caron piled up shots and hits while camping out in front of the Ottawa net and Clark freed up Daniel Paille for a breakaway with a smart stretch pass through the neutral zone. Its beginning to look like a Bs team built on depth last season could be even deeper this year.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.