DENVER -- The Bruins certainly aren’t getting their hopes up, but coach Claude Julien -- like team president Cam Neely the day before -- on Friday wouldn't rule out the possibility that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg could rejoin the Boston lineup during the playoffs.
The German defenseman had surgery for a torn right ACL/MCL in early January after injuring his knee in a Dec. 27 game against the Ottawa Senators, and the Bruins said at the time he was done for the year.
The typical timetable for recovery from that type of surgery is six to eight months, and the initial hope was that Seidenberg would be fully ready for the start of the 2014-15 season. But he's a perfectly tuned athletic machine, and he’s been ahead of his recovery schedule since the first few weeks following the surgery.
The best-case scenario is that Seidenberg wouldn't be ready until deep into a Boston playoff run, and even then there would be some hesitation to parachute someone who hadn’t played in six months into the most important games of the year. It’s a situation similar to Patrice Bergeron's in 2007-08, when he suffered his first serious concussion and the dilemma the B's would have faced had they advanced deep into the postseason.
“It’s still up in the air," Julien said of Seidenberg's potential return. "It’s kind of like Bergeron’s situation where he was always ready to come back. Would we, or would we not [play him]? Is it risky?'
"I’m not going to say ‘no’, but there are certainly a lot of questions marks there. I’m not going to stand here and say there’s a great chance he’s going to come back. When the time comes, he’ll be evaluated.
“The surgery was a pretty serious one, and we have to make a really good decision. If you see him back, it’s because everybody feels comfortable about it. The doctors would have to feel strongly that he can. Right now it’s not even something we’re entertaining. He’s such an athlete that trains hard, [and] he might be ahead of schedule a little bit. But is he ahead of the big schedule that was put in front of him? I’m not so sure about that one.”
Clearly, the Bruins overall defense and penalty-kill numbers tumbled without the rugged, physical Seidenberg in the lineup, and that’s exactly the kind of force they could use during another run at the Stanley Cup. But it would behoove anybody surrounding the Bruins to not get their hopes up given how serious the ACL/MCL surgery was, and how important Seidenberg is to the present, and future, of the Black and Gold.