BOSTON – Dennis Seidenberg has played with Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams in Philadelphia and Carolina, lives just a few miles from Williams, and is his on-ice workout partner in the offseason. So, the Bruins defenseman is familiar with the Kings winger's Game 7 heroics, along with his scoring the overtime winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Williams isn’t really a physical specimen or a guy that would blow any talent evaluator away with his stopwatch times. Instead, Williams is deceptively strong on the puck and competitive, and those are the kinds of things that show up when the men are separated from the boys deep in the postseason.
“He’s a really gritty and competitive player. If you look at him you wouldn’t really think so, but he comes up big in important games,” said Seidenberg. “He’s the leading scorer in Game 7's, which I think is a huge stat for guys. He scored another goal in Game 1 of the Finals. He’s always been successful. He’s already got two Cups, and maybe he’ll be getting a third…we’ll see. In the summertime we only live a couple of miles apart, so we hang out and work out together quite a bit.”
So what is Williams like off the ice that makes him such a cool customer on the ice?
“I don’t know. He’s pretty laid back. He’s almost a pro golfer because he plays golf every day,” said Seidenberg. “He doesn’t work out like me, but he’s just a different player. It’s really nice to see.”
Williams is a two-time Stanley Cup winner already, but he also leads all NHL players with five goals in four career Game 7's, including two against the Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. He scored 30 goals in back-to-back seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes earlier in his career, but now he seems to turn it up a notch in the playoffs after solid, unspectacular regular seasons for the Kings.
If Williams can keep it up, he also might be in line for a Conn Smythe Trophy, with 20 points in 22 playoff games this spring, and an awfully good start one game into the Cup Final.