Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

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Prague with the Bruins: Morning skate sound

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I spend most of morning skate in the media workroom today (it's not a long story, just not one worth explaining). But when the locker room is clear for media entry, the game is on.

Shawn Thornton is my first target. Luckily, he's in a fun mood. Big surprise there.

You've been talking about fourth line chemistry and how it's been a beautiful thing so far. Do you think this line will give you opportunities to get that 119 shots on net total up?
Laughs Up? That wasn't enough?

You know you're better than that.
Yeah, I hope so. Finally I have a centerman who will get me the puck, he's been looking for me all over the place. Begin always looked me off so . . . tries to look innocent. Now they're realizing I'm the dangerous guy in the line so they're probably going to get it to me a lot more. Teams might shadow me too because they know how dangerous I am.

Is that right? Huh.
Campbell has said he was bummed after last season that he didn't play as well as he had the year before. What have you seen from him so far?
I guess I gotta be serious on this question.

Yes, you do.
I think he's got a lot more skill than people give him credit for. He's got really good hands, good vision. He works really hard. We've had a little bit of chemistry in the couple of games we've played . . . it's been fun to play with him. He can skate and I know he's tough. He doesn't back down from anyone. So I'm looking forward to getting started with him.

Blake Wheeler is at a locker to the right.

You look like you're playing with a lot of intensity. How have you felt in the preseason as far as being physical is concerned?
I feel great. It's an area of my game that I wanted to work on a lot and I think it's an aspect that, if I can improve on it, it's going to help take me to the next level. Bringing a lot of energy every night contributes to that. You seem to play your best and play well when you have a lot of energy so I'm just trying to bring that every night and let the pieces fall where they may.

What were your other offseason goals?
I wanted to work on my shot a little bit . . . improve that . . . extend my range a little bit and be more of a threat in more places. Other than that, just look at the weak parts of my game and I thought being physical was definitely one that I could improve on. Hopefully that translates into good success.
What do you see as the most dangerous part of Phoenix's game?
Defensively I think they're very tough to play against. They have great goaltending and a good defensive core, so scoring goals is going to be tough. There's not going to be any easy goals out there, you gotta really work for them. As long as we bring the lunchpail tomorrow and bring that attitude that we're going to have to work hard and try to have more energy than them, it's gonna be a good game. We just can't take anything for granted or think anything's going to be easy.

Newly signed Bruin Brian McGrattan is hanging out in the same corner.

What was the moment like when business got taken care of . . . getting the deal out of the way?
I haven't signed it yet, so . . . gotta wait 'til we get back. But it's good because it was a really tough summer waiting around. You really sit and think about how great it is in this league and how much fun it is and stuff. So it's nice to be rewarded for hard work.

Talk about the guys here in Boston, getting adjusted.
It's more or less been a good group of guys to get to know. It's a fun group to try and gel with. Hockey systems are hockey systems. I've been learning them my whole life so, everything's kind of the same when you get up to this level. A couple of things are different on every team but more or less it's all the same. It's more or less just getting involved and getting to know the guys.

As far as the games go, Phoenix will be coming in fierce, looking to prove that playoff run was legit. What do you see there?
I played with them a couple years ago so I know a few of the guys. They're a fast team, a skilled team. I think they do want to prove that last year wasn't a fluke, so we've got to be ready for them. They've got good goaltending, really good forwards, so I think it will be a good test to see what we're made of to start the season.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

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.