Julien: Seguin scratch talk is 'speculation'

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Julien: Seguin scratch talk is 'speculation'

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- With only two regular-season games remaining, the Bruins have some decisions to make from now until the first playoff game next week regarding who will earn the final spot in the team's postseason starting lineup.

That decision can obviously fluctuate during a playoff series, but the initial move should indicate the direction that B's coach Claude Julien is leaning towards throughout the entire postseason.

After Friday's practice, Julien wouldn't tip his hand on which forward would be the healthy scratch entering the playoffs, and also pointed out that the talk of Tyler Seguin beginning the postseason in street clothes is nothing more than "speculation".

"I guess when the time comes, we'll make those decisions," Julien said. "Even if I had or we had made our decisions, I don't think I'd be here speaking about it.

"You guys are speculating that Seguin is fighting for a playoff roster spot, whether he's in or out," Julien later added. "Understandably, I'm just saying, for me, those are tough questions to answer, because you guys are all looking for what is my possible scenario. And I'm going back to the same thing again, we don't know what's going to happen until Monday. And then Monday, we'll find out where he stands, and where the rest of the team stands."

The Bruins host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, and the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. Until then, the B's have their eyes on what's going on in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference ladder. But they made it a point on Friday to say that they're not concerned with who they'll play in the first round.

"That's a lot of thinking, and a lot of unnecessary thinking, in my mind," Julien said. "We know that the possibilities are there. We've just got to sit back and watch, and stay on top of things. The teams that are possible opponents, we've been watching for a while now. We've just got to wait and see what it's going to be. And when it is decided, I know that we're ready for either or, as far as our scouting and everything else is concerned. So, we've just got to sit back and watch.

"I don't care," he added. "To me, it's always been the same thing. If you plan on winning a Stanley Cup, you better be ready to beat anybody. If you pick and choose, it's because you don't feel confident with your hockey club. So I'm just waiting to see who we're going to play, and then be ready for the challenge."

The other aspect of Julien's roster management over the next two games has to do with the defense. Rookie Steve Kampfer was recently sent down to Providence, but the Bruins' coach said on Friday that the move was made only to get both Kampfer and Shane Hnidy some playing time, just in case their services are needed in the playoffs.

Because Hnidy can't be sent down to Providence, the move to send Kampfer down to the AHL, was, according to Julien, "two birds with one stone."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

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.