BOSTON -- Dennis Seidenberg might not be back for Game 3 against the Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, but the German shutdown defenseman will be returning sooner rather than later.
Seidenberg skated with the Bruins for the first time at TD Garden on Monday morning since suffering an injury on his first shift of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs a week ago. Claude Julien cautiously said Seidenberg is “getting closer” to a return to the Boston lineup, and will make the trip with the team to New York City along with healing defenseman Wade Redden.
All that said, Seidenberg also still appeared to be moving with a little care and hesitation on the ice during his first practice back.
“You all saw that he was out there practicing with everybody else,” Julien said. “He's getting closer . . . whether it's the next game or not, we'll see how he feels tomorrow (during morning skate at MSG). I need the okay from the medical staff. After they’ve given me the okay, then it becomes my decision. There’s no gray area when it comes to that stuff.”
With the “Three Little Baby Bears” defensemen performing so well for the Black and Gold in the first couple of games, there is every chance that Redden won’t force his way back into the lineup when fully healthy. But Seidenberg will be inserted as soon as he’s ready, and it appears he’ll be taking the place of 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton as Zdeno Chara’s partner.
Hamilton was a minus-2 in Game 2 against the Rangers on Sunday afternoon, and struggled a bit defensively despite still showing plenty of playmaking ability at the offensive end of the ice.
Seidenberg has averaged 21:36 of ice time during his seven Stanley Cup playoff games this spring with a single assist and an even plus/minus rating. But more importantly, his presence will allow the Bruins to scale back some of the heavy minutes logged by Chara since injuries hit Boston’s blueline.