Bruins notes: Seidenberg hitting his stride

191545.jpg

Bruins notes: Seidenberg hitting his stride

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said before Game One that he found it annoying to watch -- and difficult to handle -- when he sat out the entire series against the Philadelphia Flyers during last years playoffs due to injury.

The Bs defenseman missed the entire postseason after suffering a severe cut to his forearm from the sharp edge a skate blade near the end of the regular season, and qualifies as one of a number of different Bruins skaters that could have been difference-makers during the Philly collapse.

Since Seidenberg was paired with Zdeno Chara prior to Game Three against the Montreal Canadiens, the German blueliner has been a big time difference-maker for the Black and Gold. Seidenberg has a goal and 4 assists along with a plus-6 in six playoff games since the move to Bostons top pairing, and its really allowed the blueliner to take some offensive chances with pinching and working pucks deep into the offensive zone.

There were times this season where it appeared that Seidenbergs offensive value was being lost amid his defensive responsibilities, but hes really found his game at the exact right time the same kind of pattern that Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli noticed when the Bruins played Seidenbergs Carolina Hurricanes two years ago.

Seidenberg was really again solid for us tonight. I liked his game. He was solid, he was physical, he was strong, and give him credit, said Julien. He set some of the goals that we scored early in the game.

He was pinching, and he did a great job of pinching, carrying the puck behind the net, and made a great play from there on in. But hes been a pretty good player for us all year. Theres no doubt we missed him through the playoffs all last year. But hes showing his worth right now, and were happy to have him.

With Zdeno Chara finally looking like himself again after the dehydration episode in the first round, that means things can only get better for Seidenberg as he keeps playing like the big, strong, offensive-minded shot-blocking defenseman thats shown up when his team needs him most.

Brad Marchand had some extended chats with Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger at points during the game, and that seems like a pretty natural place for some conversation to take place given their reputations. The Bs rookie said the refs were cracking down on the trash-talking given the characters out on the ice, but Marchand let out an imp-ish style at the thought hed always be on his best behavior for seven games.

Tonight I wasnt doing a ton of talking, but well see what happens as the series goes on, said Marchand. The refs were watching certain guys quite a bit, so there wasnt much stirring of the pot out there.

A pair of two-handed chop slashes from the Philadelphia Flyers as tempers flared in a game that got away from Philly, and showed just how high the level of frustration was for a Flyers team getting beaten to the punch. Chris Prongers slash on Daniel Paille was particularly egregious given that the Bs fourth line forward was lying on the ice after he collided with the Philly defenseman following a delayed icing call but there also a Kris Versteeg two-hander on the back of Michael Ryders legs that looked it was coming with a message.

In all the Flyers were called for five different slashing calls against the Bruins as they clearly opted for stick-work and cheap plays over actually attempting to move their feet and outwork Boston.

It wasnt very good tonight, the defensive play. Especially, you know, right in front of our goaltender, said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette. Too many easy goals, too many easy plays, we werent strong enough right in front of our goaltender.

That was not the way we need to play in order to be successful, so theres lots of things that can change; actually everythings got to change, everythings got to improve. So well work on that.

The seven goal output was a little different for Tim Thomas after playing in so many white-knuckled one goal games and overtime contests against the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs but the Bs goaltender said he never felt too relaxed despite the 31-save effort that included some pretty big saves in the first and second period.

That was a good game. You usually dont have too many leads like that in the playoffs, said Thomas. It wasnt that big a lead, but Philly is known for their comebacks even within games so you always have to be on your toes.

In the five previous series the Flyers have played against the Bruins, and with tonight being the sixth occasion, the Flyers are 0-6 in Game 1. They have won three of the previous five series vs. Boston despite that, including the 1974 Stanley Cup Final and last years Eastern Conference Semifinal.

Huge shot-blocking effort for Gregory Campbell during a penalty kill at the end of the second period, and a pretty good representation of exactly how much grit and toughness the fourth line center plays with every night.

The beat goes on for the power play now that theyve gone 0-for-5 in the win and sit at 0-for-26 during the playoffs as the only NHL playoff team that hasnt notched a score on the man advantage.

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

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

countdown_to_camp_danton_heinen.png

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing. 

Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

bruins.jpg

Bruins’ new Warrior Ice Arena practice facility to open Sept. 8.

The Bruins’ new practice facility has been years in the making and they will finally get to officially open the doors to Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton next month. 

The B’s players will start informal captain’s practice skates at the new facility on the New Balance property in these final days of August, but the team announced on Friday that the new facility will be officially opened to the public on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs, team president Cam Neely, general manager Don Sweeney and a number of players will be on hand for the opening ceremony and ensuing open house for the media. Also planning to attend from New Balance will be Owner and Chairman Jim Davis and NB Development Group LLC Managing Director Jim Halliday, along with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. 

Following the formal portion of the event, Warrior Ice Arena will host the “Boston Youth All-Star Game featuring Bruins Alumni” which will feature local squirt players from the Boston communities of Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Hyde Park, South Boston and West Roxbury mixed in with members of the Bruins alumni. 

The Youth All-Stars will team with Bruins alumni and they will play the first official game before the ice is turned over to the current Bruins players for their training camp later in the month.

The Warrior Ice Arena gets its name from the Warrior brand of hockey equipment that is now a division of New Balance and comes with a 79-foot high Warrior hockey stick that greets visitors at the front entrance doors.

Warrior Ice Arena will be the B’s new and permanent practice home after the Bruins spent 25-plus years practicing in the suburbs of Boston at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington.