Morning skate 215: Time to make a move

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Morning skate 215: Time to make a move

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Interesting prices for the trade market this winter as the Feb. 28 trade deadline looms for the NHL and more importantly in Boston for the Bruins.A first-round pick and a third-round pick for Kris Versteeg with essentially two seasons left on his contract; a draft pick, a top prospect and NHL forward Joffrey Lupul for defenseman Francois Beauchemin, and other minor deals have begun to set the market for the rest of the NHL.Prices are steep and it appears that the Bruins will have to be willing to part with some assets and valuable pieces in exchange for the power play quarterbackpuck-moving defenseman or skilled forward that Boston really needs for a playoff run.A cosmetic trade for a journeyman defenseman like Steve Montador isnt going to get it done just as it didnt get it done two years ago. A deal for a young skill defenseman like Jon-Michael Liles who has one assist and is a minus-17 in last 11 games for the Avalanche isnt the answer either.The Bruins have to make some difficult choices, and that starts with parting with picks and players if they really, truly hope to make a Stanley Cup run. Otherwise this team is simply going through the motions as so many other Bs teams did prior to the NHL lockout that changed everything.On to the links: Heres a piece from the Globe and Mail that takes a close look at fighting in the NHL, and surprisingly has Harry Sinden as one voice that attempted to get goons out of the league. Hard to believe, but true. A big game against the Lightning with the Flyers adding Kris Versteeg to the equation, per CSNPhilly reporter Sarah Baicker. A good look by the L.A. Times' legendary Helen Elliott at the need for action rather than words from Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux when it comes to league-wide issues. Are the Edmonton Oilers icing their worst team in the history of the franchise? Thats a tough question, and Pro Hockey Talk is willing to pose it. Stop the presses! It appears Damien Cox has finally decided to get critical of Brian Burke and the Leafs in the wake of the Kris Versteeg deal. I wasnt sure if this day would ever get here. Steve Ott actually learned phrases in other languages to get under the skin of foreign-born hockey players. It's one of the many reasons why hes referred to as Brave" Steve Ott in Boston.

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

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.