Ryder scores twice, still plays second fiddle

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Ryder scores twice, still plays second fiddle

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Michael Ryder scores two more huge playoff goals, and allanybody wants to talk about is Tyler Seguin.

Okay, so Seguins two-goal, two-assist, plus-three effortundoubtedly earned him Tuesday nights first star, as the rookie led the Bruinsto a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 at the TD Garden, eveningthe Eastern Conference Finals at 1-1.

And yes, he and Ryder have had a pretty good connection allseason long. And Ryder probably doesnt have a two-goal night if not forSeguin.

But two goals are two goals. And a game-winner is agame-winner.

Yet, following Bostons Game 2 win, Ryder couldnt escapequestions about Seguin. So much so, that he even showed his sarcastic side 10minutes into his media gathering when asked about the rookies improvements.

Who, he was playing better? Segs? asked Ryder.

He was kidding, of course. Even Ryder knew Seguin deservedall the headlines on Wednesday morning.

But there had to be a small part of him that wanted someoneto realize his two goals were pretty big, too. And that Seguin wasnt the onlyBruins player trying to answer critics in the postseason.

Like Seguin, Ryder knows how it feels to be a healthy scratch in the playoffs.He played in only four of Montreals 12 playoff games during his last seasonwith the Canadiens in 2007-08.

Thats the way it goes, I guess, you know? But I think welearned a lot from that, me and Segs, said Ryder after Tuesday nights win. Iwas there before, and Seguin did a great job. For his first playoffs, this is ahuge two games for him, and its definitely going to give him some confidence.

Other than that, Ryder and Seguin are answering to twodifferent types of critics this postseason.

Many Bruins fans have wanted Seguin dressed since Game 1against Montreal in the first round. Many of those same people wanted Ryder to be theguy watching the game from the ninth floor.

Ryder answered those critics with two goals in a Game 4overtime win over the Canadiens that evened up the series at 2-2, heading backto Boston for Game 5. Ryder scored the game-winner in overtime, and just like that, people were back on board.

Ryder had that opportunity because coach ClaudeJulien believed in him. That didnt seem to be the case with Seguin. It seemedeverybody in Boston wanted to see him dressed, and on the ice.

Not just on oneof the checking lines, but on the power play as well.

Bruins fans got their wish in the first two games of thisseries, mainly because Patrice Bergeron went down with a concussion at the end of thePhiladelphia series.

And make no mistake about it, Seguin proved he belongs inthe Bruins lineup for every game the rest of the way.

But so has Ryder.

I guess in this game, a lot of people always doubt you,said Ryder on Tuesday night. If things arent going well, people always havetheir own opinions. But I knew that I had to have a good playoffs to try andhelp this team. I want to do everything I can. It didnt matter if I wasntscoring. I just trying to do anything I can to help the team.

Ive just been working hard, and trying to create things.And its been working.

Ryder scored his third and fourth goals of the playoffs onTuesday night. His first came with 3:44 left in the second period, and with 49seconds left on a 5-on-4 power play.

Seguin took a low one-timer from the top of the left circle,which Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson saved with his left pad. Ryder wasparked out front, and flipped the rebound upstairs to give the Bruins a 5-3lead.

Thats what we need, to get traffic in front, and get shotsthere, and get those goals, said Ryder. Because those guys on the other team,they block a lot of shots, and they take the front of the net away. We need towork hard and just bang on loose pucks, and get those garbage goals.

Less than four minutes later, Ryder put the Bs up 6-3 withhis second goal of the night, as he found himself on the doorstep again andput home a rebound from a Chris Kelly shot from the high slot.

Seguin also got that play started, as he initially foundKelly in the high slot with a no-look, behind-the-back pass from the corner,picking up his fourth point of the night.

When I went in the corner, I took a quick look and sawKelly there, and I knew there were guys pressuring on me, said Seguin. Ikind of see David Krejci do it all the time, and I just tried to put it through theguys legs. I dont know exactly where it went, but I tried to get it outfront, and Kelly got the puck on net, and Ryder went to the net, which issomething hes doing really well right now.

Ryders been doing a lot well this postseason. And his twogoals on Tuesday night proved to be the difference-makers, since Tampa Bayscored two goals in the third period to cut Bostons lead to 6-5.

This time of year, its a lot of fun to play, said Ryder.This is where you want to be. I think a lot of guys that arent playing rightnow, would love to be in our situation. And weve got to make sure we takeadvantage of it.

Ryder sure is, even though nobody will be talkingabout him on Wednesday morning.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.