Hnidy to be activated by B's, won't play vs. Devils


Hnidy to be activated by B's, won't play vs. Devils

By Joe Haggerty

BOSTON Theres been an inordinate amount of excitement for the return of Shane Hnidy, considering the guy hasnt taken a single shift this season, and Bruins coach Claude Julien admitted Tuesday morning that hes going to bring the veteran defenseman along slowly. Hnidyis to be takenoff the injured-reserve list on Tuesday, but wont in the lineup against the New Jersey Devils when the Bruins look to look to bust out of a 1-3-3 funk over their last seven games.The slump hit at the end of a 12-of-16-on-the-road stretch, and the Bruins clearly didnt have any legs in their last couple of games. So now wouldnt be the proper time to throw a guy like Hnidy into the mix, not when the core players need to win some games, right the ship and help the B's make one last push at the No. 2 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Julien needs to find the proper time to insert Hnidy into the lineup, while knowing that Steve Kampfer will also need to play down the stretch.Hnidy cant be sent down to Providence this late in the season for an AHL tune-up, so the thinking is that it will be largely practice situations to sharpen Hnidys game prior to the postseason.Hes come around, and I think at some point youll see him in our lineup, said Julien. We brought him here to give us some depth. If were going to use him as a depth player, at some point from here to the end hes going to see some action.Theres going to be some small adjustments with him, but we can manage that. We can put him in some situations where he can get on the ice and help us more than hurt us.Its been a long road for Hnidy this season after rotator cuff surgery in the fall, and hes simply happy to get things going when Julien calls his number.Its nice to know that its just a matter of knowing that Im ready to get into a game, and its up to the coach, said Hnidy. We havent discussed any plan. Its about practicing and putting the time in at the gym, and make sure my body is where its supposed to be when I do play. The Bruins held an optional skate on Tuesday morning and only Daniel Paille and Tuukka Rask appeared on the ice. That would appear to cast Paille as the healthy scratch for tonights game against New Jersey, and points to Tim Thomas as the likely starting goaltender.Brad Marchand will return to the lineup after sitting out a two-game suspension for elbowing R.J. Umberger in the back of the head, and there's a chance the pesky winger could be reunited with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell on the fourth line. Peter Chiarelli also confirmed with Bruins season ticket holders in a conference call that Tyler Seguin will be manning the second power play unit for Boston.

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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.