Horton pots first goal in over a year

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Horton pots first goal in over a year

NEW YORK Nathan Horton completed another step on the way to proving that hes right back to where he once was as a highly regarded power forward that tied everything together for the Bruins.
He passed the first test after experiencing no linger concussion issues over the summer into the four month lockout, and passed a big test when he made it through training camp looking healthy, strong and viable and carried all of that goodness into the regular season.
But the true sign Horton is 100 percent back is when the timely, clutch goals start falling for the 6-foot-2, 229-pound playoff hero.
That happened in the third period of Wednesday nights exciting 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden when Horton rifled home the game-tying goal with less than five minutes to go in regulation. It was the first goal for the 27-year-old winger in over a year dating back to a Jan. 19 road win over the New Jersey Devils that came three days before the fateful game against the Philadelphia Flyers that ended his season.
So to see the red lamp signal that he had scored an NHL goal was a welcomed sight indeed.
It was definitely nice. Not that I was thinking too much about it, but anybody would say that its nice getting it out of the way, said Horton. You just keep working at it. I think tonight our line played well in their end with the cycles and crashing the net. They dont give up a lot of room.
It was sweet hockey justice for Horton, who had been robbed of at least a couple of sure goals in Mondays win over the Winnipeg Jets. For his teammates it was another reminder of how much better Horton makes them as a deep forward group with each player in their proper spot and how strongly hes returned over the last 367 days since Tom Sestito ended his season with a blindside hit to the head.
To know that he had been out since last January and to see the way that hes played the last three games, its great, said Milan Lucic. Being his linemate, its great having him back and its a lot of fun playing with him.
Hortons ice time has gone up in each of his first three games and has seven shots on goal thus far on the season, and now has a mark on the stat sheet. He was even smiling after the game knowing that his team had done an admirable job coming back from an early 2-0 deficit to the Rangers in their building.
It would appear that Horton is completely back to form, and is leaving all of the concussion talk behind as the headaches and fuzziness is now far back in the rear-view mirror.

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.

 

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.