Seidenberg looking to extend playoff performance

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Seidenberg looking to extend playoff performance

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Even Dennis Seidenberg caught himself a few times this summer watching replays of the Stanley Cup playoff games, and asking himself one simple question.

Who was that guy wearing the No. 44 Bruins sweater playing with strength, poise, tenacity, tireless endurance and such a smoothness carrying pucks up and down the ice?

The German defenseman knew, of course, that he was watching himself play the best hockey of his NHL career amid Bostons run to Stanley Cup glory, and that hed be hard-pressed to operate at such a high level jumping into this season.

When I saw those games on NHL Network all the time and Id turn and just watch for a second. It seemed like everything was so simple and nothing seemed to faze me, or us, said Seidenberg. You think that you can do that anytime you want, but when you get on the ice you dont always have that calmness and composure with the puck.
Its tough to get back when youve been off the ice for a couple of months.

The burning question becomes whether Seidenberg can elevate his regular season for longer stretches to match the super defenseman that emerged for Boston during the postseason. Hes done it in big games and has all of the physical attributes to be a top pair defenseman, and the former Flyers, Hurricanes and Panthers blueliner now has the health that always eluded him earlier in his career.

So this upcoming season could be the year where it all comes together after his breakout 25 game body of work leading up to the Cup.

The 29-year-old looked a bit different from the playoff beast as he hopped off the ice Friday morning following captains practice. There was a bit more huffing and puffing involved as hes engaged in his annual transformation from weight room training to hockey shape, but its the same player with the steady skill set and ability to elevate his game during the postseason.

Seidenberg has also always been a hockey player thats been extremely tough on himself as an individual, and doesnt normally give himself the credit he deserves for his skill package as a puck-moving defenseman. That meant his confidence wasnt always brimming at its highest possible level, but thats something Seidenberg might just be able to hold onto after watching how well he played in the postseason.

Personally I feel really good. I feel even better than I did last year, said Seidenberg. I know that I can get it all back. Its just a matter of getting that feel and that confidence going again. That shouldnt be a problem for me.

You get used to playing the big minutes. You get smarter and you get more efficient. Somehow it would work, but I hadnt really thought it much.

Some argued that Seidenberg deserved Conn Smythe dark horse consideration given the 27:38 of ice time he played in the 25 playoff games, and his tone-setting physicality as Zdeno Charas defenseman partner made them the perfect shutdown pair during the postseason.

It was definitely on my mind over the summer, but at the end of the day it doesnt really matter whether Im paired with him or not, said Seidenberg. I have to play my game and focus on my tasks. I just have to focus on my game and keep trying to get better.

Did Seidenberg get a little spoiled skating with Chara during the playoffs after the two were separated for the entirety of the regular season?

Every time youre on the ice with him you get spoiled, said Seidenberg. I learned so much from him. Its a lot of fun being paired with Chara.

It would be very tempting for the Bruins to put those two stalwart defensemen together during the season, and see just how good they could be at shutting down the NHLs best players. But it could also be something that makes sense in a winner-take-all postseason setting, but doesnt allow for enough balance during an 82-game regular season.

Its something for the Bs coaching staff to tinker with during the upcoming training camp, and its up to the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Seidenberg to see if he can build on a solid 32-point regular season with a plus-3 rating.

Seidenberg showed he could be even better than that in the playoffs, however, and the Bruins will need the playoff Seidenberg more often if they hope to stave off their Stanley Cup hangover this year.

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

Countdown to camp: Austin Czarnik

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Countdown to camp: Austin Czarnik

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: Austin Czarnik.

View the gallery here

Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

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Krejci, Krug aim to be ready for Bruins opening night

BRIGHTON – Only two Bruins players spoke to the media following the team’s first informal captain’s practice at the new Warrior Ice Arena facility, and it happened to be the two key players coming back from offseason surgery.

Torey Krug had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder shortly after last season was over, and David Krejci had hip surgery to take care of a lower body issue that had bothered him for each of the last two seasons. Both were on the ice on Monday morning along with John-Michael Liles, Adam McQuaid, Frank Vatrano and Noel Acciari, though Krejci hopped off the ice 15 minutes into the session once the skating drills started to ramp up.

Similarly, Krug wasn’t taking any one-timers or winding up for slap shots while working with the puck during drills amidst a six month recovery window that’s expected to carry over into October. Both said that playing on opening night was their goal at this point still weeks ahead of NHL training camp, but a decision should be forthcoming for Krejci when it comes to the World Cup of Hockey. It didn’t sound like the playmaking pivot was going to end up competing for Team Czech Republic in the tournament, but Krejci isn't shutting the door just yet.

“It’s another day closer. I did a little bit more stuff today and I’m obviously already on the ice, so I’m kind of getting there. This injury takes time, but I like where I’m at right now,” said Krejci, who originally hurt the left hip in the final preseason game prior to the 2014-15 seasons. “Every day is a step closer. I’m excited for tomorrow. If you asked me a long time ago [about the World Cup] then I would have said ‘yes’, but right now I just want to get to 100 percent.

“If I’m ready then that would be awesome, but if not then I have to do what I have to do to be 100 percent. I’m in contact with the national team coach, and we talk pretty every week. They’re asking about my updates, so they know what’s going on. I’m sure they have some backup plan if it’s not going to work out. We’ll see what happens.”

It’s not quite as cut-and-dry with Krug, who will start slowly going into training camp while ramping up to being ready as quickly as possible. Similar to Krejci, the shoulder injury was something Krug played with pretty much all of last season while scoring a career-low four goals in 81 games. The 25-year-old D-man wasn’t using the bum right shoulder as an excuse, but said he’s looking forward to feeling good as new again as soon as possible.

“When you miss the playoffs it’s a long summer, but I was very fortunate going through the shoulder surgery that I had a lot of time to recover,” said Krug, who averaged a career-high 21:37 of ice time last season. “Hopefully I’ll be good to go for the first game. I didn’t know what to expect, but from a medical standpoint they tell me that [I’m ahead of schedule]. I’d never been through a surgery or anything like this, but I feel good.

“It’s probably a harder road, but I’m in good hands and they tell me I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’m not even using my shoulder shooting the puck. I’m taking it slow and day-by-day with plenty of time still leading up to camp. It’s probably going to be a play it by ear situation [to start camp]. They said six month, so camp would be about five months. So I doubt I’ll be taking part in the physical aspect of it [to start camp]. We’ll see how it goes.”

The bad news is that Krejci and Krug had to go through surgery at all last spring, but it sounds like both aren’t going to miss much, if any, time at all for the B’s once the regular season winds up. 

Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

Krejci more disappointed in losing Eriksson than missing out on Vesey

BRIGHTON – The Bruins held their first informal skate at the new Warrior Ice Arena on Monday morning and there were a number of players present that also took part in the Jimmy Vesey recruiting session a few weeks ago.

Both Torey Krug and David Krejci skated on Monday along with John-Michael Liles, Frank Vatrano, Adam McQuaid and Noel Acciari, and those two aforementioned Black and Gold veterans were also part of the recruiting group that met with the former Harvard captain at their new practice facility.

A few days later, Vesey spurned the Bruins to sign with the New York Rangers, and the reactions weren’t all that overheated from the B’s players. Krug played with Vesey on Team USA during the World Championships a little more than a year ago, and didn’t really begrudge the highly sought Hobey Baker Award winner choosing the Blueshirts.

“I’m not going to go into details. He had the right to do what he did, and obviously it was a smart decision to interview with all those teams and figure out the best fit for him,” said Krug. “We wanted to him here, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. Now we move on, and there’s an opportunity for other guys to step in and take that spot. This group moving forward, we’re highly motivated this year.”

Krejci would have been Vesey’s center, as pitched by the Bruins management in the meeting with Vesey, but that wasn’t enough to woo him to play pro hockey in his hometown. Krejci said he was more disappointed losing linemate Loui Eriksson than falling short in the Vesey sweepstakes. The carousel of changing wingers will be moving once again for the B’s pivot.

“I wasn’t really disappointed with that guy. Obviously I’d heard he was a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed that we weren’t able to keep Loui. I felt like we had some good chemistry going,” said Krejci, referencing 30-goal scorer Eriksson departing for the Vancouver Canucks and a six-year, $36 million contract. “It was tough to see him go, but I’m getting kind of used to seeing my guys, my favorite guys, going away [like] Milan [Lucic], Nathan [Horton] and [Jarome] Iginla.

“So I’m going to have to play my game, and find chemistry with whoever is going to play on my line. I did meet him, and talked to him a bit. In the summer there aren’t many [hockey] things for people to talk about, so this [Vesey watch] was something for people to talk about. Obviously there was pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess. I feel like he would have been a good fit on our team, but he made the decision he did. I don’t know exactly why he made the decision that he didn’t want to stay [in Boston], but it’s his career and he has all the right to decide where it is he wants to play.”

So Vesey becomes just another Harvard grad headed to New York City to start his career, and the Bruins will likely turn to Vatrano or perhaps rookie playmaker Danton Heinen as left wing candidates alongside Krejci and David Pastrnak after Boston missed out on both Eriksson and Vesey this summer.