'No issues' for Krejci, Bergeron

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'No issues' for Krejci, Bergeron

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

TAMPA David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas were all missing from the St. Pete Times Forum practice ice on Friday afternoon the day after Bostons convincing 2-0 victory over the Lightning. The win gave Boston a kung fu grip on the series up 2-1 with home ice advantage back on their side, and hands the Bs a pretty good feeling headed into Saturday afternoons Game 1 matinee.Krejci surely had a little full-body soreness after taking a big hit in the first period, Chara appeared to be battling some kind of cold after logging more than 28 minutes in the victory and Thomas can pretty much do whatever he wants after putting together his second playoff shutout in the 2-0 win.Krejci played well after suffering a crunching body hit at the hand of Marc-Andre Bergeron in the first period, and the Bs coach said that there are no injury issues with the play-making center stemming from the heavy hit.David is fine," Claude Julien said. "We had a bunch of guys stay off today. Its more of an optional and short skate. There are no issues with David. Hes playing tomorrow in Game 4 with no issues at all.As for the hit itself, Julien understood why Tampa coach Guy Boucher looked like Dr. Evil -- with no Mr. Bigglesworth -- on the Lightning bench after the refs called Bergeron for an elbowing penalty on the collision. The Bs coach concurred with most hockey people that Bergeron dropped a hellacious good hit in the playoffs, and that the refs played a bit of the makeup game in ignoring Dwayne Roloson handling the puck outside the trapezoid area during the ensuing power play.If you have time to look at the replay you can say, well, it was a good hit, said Julien. Its happened to us before from our end of it. Sometimes you get called for penalties. The one thing weve always said is that the league is very sensitive to head issues, so something theyre making a call.Maybe it wasnt the right call, but at the same time they have had a second penalty on that same play where the goaltender touched the puck outside the area. The referee was there and I think he didnt call it . . . probably trying to make up for it. I think it all evened out in the end. Thats what we talk about when you play the games. Plenty of cameras and recorders out for Shane Hnidy and goalie coach Bob Essensa as talk stirred up about the Atlanta Thrashers moving into Winnipeg starting next season with Hnidy from the Winnipeg area and Essensa proud of his six seasons as a member of the Winnipeg Jets. Shawn Thornton was kind enough to assist reporters in doing their jobs as he continuously yelled Shane Hnidy is available, and hes from Winnipeg! during media availability in the visitors dressing room at the St. Pete Times Forum. Patrice Bergeron said he was no worse for the wear after playing upwards of 19 minutes during his first game action in two weeks, and said recurring concussion symptoms wasnt even a thought in his head. The day after Bergerons return there was no soreness, no concussion recurrences and nothing but good feelings about where hes at for the rest of the playoffs.To be honest I wasnt even worried about it," Bergeron said. "I knew I was back and I was ready. It took maybe a couple of shifts keeping things simple, but after that I really felt like I was in the groove and things were good. I knew I was good physically and I was ready mentally as well.

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

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.