Haggerty: Seidenberg turning things around

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Haggerty: Seidenberg turning things around

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

The heated exchange between Tuukka Rask and Dennis Seidenberg at one of the lowest points of the season in Toronto last weekend could very easily end up as the nadir for Seidenbergs entire season.

The 29-year-old has six goals and 22 assists along with a plus-5 on the season while playing every game this season, and averaging just a shade under 24 minutes of ice time per night but things had turned southward over the last couple of weeks.

Capped off by the RaskSeidenberg flap in Toronto, the defenseman was in the midst of a seven game scoreless rut that saw him post a minus-6 and put together six straight minus performances. The German defenseman was noticeably having difficulty holding steady in front of the Boston net, and was part of the overall team breakdown that went down on the road.

When things happen out there and there are defensive breakdowns where youre not getting the bounces, it seems like the minus numbers keep piling up, said Seidenberg. Its just how it goes."

It seems pretty obvious that logging big minutes in every game this season and missing virtually no time from the practice ice over the course of the year had worn down the blueliner a bit.

But just like the teams fortunes, all of that has changed for Seidenberg in the last two highly successful home games that have ended with wins.

Seidenberg served notice early in the win over New Jersey that his personal slump was over when he picked up the primary assist in Bostons first goal against the Devils with a sharp shot from the right point. More importantly, Seidenberg was playing steady defense in front of Tim Thomas between the pipes, and actually saved a goal against the Habs while the game was still in question.

Brian Gionta flew down the right side of the net when it was still a 3-0 hockey game on Thursday night with a trailer storming down the middle, and fired a puck that appeared destined for a goal after Thomas was caught out of position. Instead Seidenberg slid behind Thomas to cover up the goal crease, and blocked the Gionta shot headed into the open net.

That play helped keep the Canadiens at bay before they completely quit in the third period against the Bruins, and showed the kind of intelligent, steady defensively play Seidenberg is counted on for when hes going right.

The Boston defenseman was ecstatic to get out of the land of minus hockey over the last couple of games, and is at a plus-2 with an assist in the last two games while reversing his play from tough luck to stalwart. Seidenberg was somewhat miscast as a No. 2 defenseman behind Zdeno Chara for the bulk of the season, and has been adjusting to life as a D partner for Tomas Kaberle over the last month.

It looks like the adjustment period is just about over.

I was relieved in that last game to look down and see a plus on the scoresheet, said Seidenberg. Its definitely a good feeling. Its good to be on the positive side again and its good to be winning as well.

Theres no coincidence that Thomas has stopped 54 of 55 shots over the last two wins, and seems to be back on track as Seidenberg and Co. have locked things down around the net and blocked any shots that their goaltender isnt going to get a good peek at given the bodies flying in front of the net.

The team played really well in front of me the last two games, said Thomas. Kept the chances to a minimum and allowed me to see the shots and keep them to the outside. That made my job a lot easier in the last two games, so its allowing me to build some confidence and start to feel comfortable.

Seidenbergs role on the Bruins among their top defensemen is going to be one of the big keys headed into the playoffs, and success will hinge a great deal on the German defender playing just like he has the last two games and seeing a lot more plus signs on the nightly scoresheet.

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

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while amazed, and alarmed, at any politician that would ever duck a town hall-style meeting with their constituents.

*Patrick Eaves had a close encounter of the hairy kind with the mighty Chewbacca during a recent visit to Disney. Let’s just say Eaves, Brent Burns and Chewie could all be from the same family tree.

*Good, long read on junior hockey scoring star Alex Debrincat, who Bruins fans will remember that Boston passed over to draft Trent Frederic at the end of the first round last summer. He’s scoring at the kind of levels that say he might be something special at the next level. Just saying.

*Wayne Gretzky jumps on the Florida Panthers telecast to chat about Jaromir Jagr, and jokes about what he’ll do if Jagr ever gets close to his NHL all-time scoring title.

*Pierre Lebrun has a list of NHL defensemen that are in demand ahead of the trade deadline, and it’s a fairly underwhelming list aside from Kevin Shattenkirk.

*If you’re looking for some good Blackhawks talk then you should check out the Blackhawks Talk podcast over at CSN Chicago.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob McKenzie dropped into the NBCSN studios again this past week to chat about the NHL tweaking the bye weeks moving forward after watching them play out this season.

*People getting concerned about turning budding personal NHL rivalries into another “Ovechkin vs. Crosby” is perhaps the dumbest NHL hot take I’ve ever heard. The Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry was perfectly good and anything to draw attention to the NHL and its players is also good. This is the kind of thing said by somebody that I’m sure gets more super-excited by a bar graph showing a player’s effectiveness rather than watching what they’re actually doing on the ice.

*For something completely different: A really interesting look from a random date that Carrie Fisher took to the 1978 Oscars while palling around with the young, new stars of Hollywood.

 

 

What we learned in Bruins' 5-3 loss to Ducks: Back to earth for Cassidy's crew

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What we learned in Bruins' 5-3 loss to Ducks: Back to earth for Cassidy's crew

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