|Players more educated, but no more confident after returning from New York||09.14.12 at 2:12 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Two-hundred-eighty-three players left this week’s NHLPA meetings in New York without any promising news about the start of the season, but they came away from the meetings a heck of a lot smarter.
It isn’t exactly easy to understand the nuts and bolts of the league’s labor dispute as the owners and NHLPA try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, so players who entered the meetings as confused as the next guy at least left them a bit educated.
“I was taking notes,” Tyler Seguin said on Friday. “Obviously there’s a lot of stuff I’m not going to understand. We do the meetings and obviously I’m not going to get into much detail, but then we split up into our teams and talk about it amongst ourselves and our questions. It was good. I learned a lot. Going into that, I don’t think I knew too much about HRR [hockey-related revenue] or anything like that and all the percentages and statistics, but I know a lot more about it now.”
Dennis Seidenberg said that while the meetings were beneficial given the unity the players showed and the things they learned, he doesn’t see any more reason for optimism now than he did before.
“The feeling is it hasn’t really changed much,” the defenseman said. “We were hoping that going to New York, we’d get some news in a positive way, but the main thing we did was get educated on what’s going on and what our proposal looks like and how we’re going forward from here. Other than that, not much has changed.”
Said Gregory Campbell: “I think it’s important to go to those meetings and definitely get the knowledge on what’s going on. As players, it’s really important to be informed. It’s one thing to hear it on the phone or hear it from somebody else, but to actually go there and really be informed — this is our livelihood, so we really have to make sure that we’re all on the same page.”
The owners are set to lock the players out at midnight on Saturday. A vote led by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs yielded unanimous agreement for the move on Thursday.
“Going to New York was probably a good idea at this point in time, just because with this date looming, I guess it seems like the inevitable that there will be a lockout,” Campbell said. “We all have to be in the right frame of mind if and when this happens.”
|Dennis Seidenberg knows one person who wants a lockout||at 1:07 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — There aren’t many people rooting for an NHL lockout, but Yannic Seidenberg is one of them.
Seidenberg, the younger brother of Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, plays left wing for Adler Mennheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. His team has reached out to Dennis saying there’s a spot for him if he wants somewhere to play during the upcoming NHL lockout, and Dennis has indicated he would interested if it came to that.
“I was definitely happy that they were interested,” he said. “There’s an opportunity for me to go over once I decide to do that, but for now I’m just trying to hold tight and see where things are going.”
As if the team hasn’t pressed hard enough for him to go back to Germany to play, Yannic has been anxious to get his brother over there.
“Every day,” he said with a laugh. “He’s very excited. He keeps calling me every day and asking if I talked to them yet, to his team and got anything going, but I keep telling him I’m going to hold tight and see what’s going to happen here.”
Seidenberg spent the last lockout playing in the AHL for the Philadelphia Phantoms. While he doesn’t to see a work stoppage in the NHL, there’s a silver lining for him that doesn’t exist for most of the other players.
“The last time I played with him was like 10 or 11 years ago,” Seidenberg said of Yannic, “so it would be nice to get back there if you could take one positive out of this.”
|Bruins players discuss plans for potential NHL lockout||08.22.12 at 8:39 pm ET|
LOWELL — Several Bruins players weighed in on the NHL’s situation regarding the collective bargaining agreement prior to Milan Lucic‘s Rock & Jock softball game Wednesday night. Among the things discussed were their potential plans for the coming season in the event that there is a lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15.
Lucic hasn’t been able to attend any meetings thus far, but he said he has paid close attention to the negotiations between the league and the players’ association. Executives from the league and NHLPA, including league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, met in Toronto Wednesday, but got nowhere. The negotiations were cancelled before they began, and the two sides will meet again Thursday.
“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved,” Lucic said. “There’s a lot of issues that are being talked about and there’s a lot of things that from a player and a union standpoint, that we want and obviously from an owner’s standpoint, what they want. You’ve heard Don and Gary talk about it, that there’s still a wide gap between the two sides coming together. Like I said, hopefully it can get resolved sooner than later, but from a union standpoint and a player standpoint, we’re just trying to make sure we get a fair deal and have whatever’s right.”
Dennis Seidenberg played in the AHL during the 2004-05 lockout, but he hinted at playing in his native Germany next season if the NHL isn’t an option. One draw of playing in Germany would be the opportunity to play with his younger brother, Yannic, who is a forward for Adler Mannheim of the German Hockey League.
“Well, my brother plays in Germany, so it would be nice to play with him if it gets to that point,” Seidenberg said, “but for now I haven’t put enough thought into it to say what I’m going to do.”
Added Seidenberg: “It would be nice to play with him again, but I hope it’s not going to happen.”
Finland native Tuukka Rask said he also isn’t sure where he’d play, but did say it’s unlikely that he would play in Finland. Tim Thomas played in Finland during the 2004-05 lockout.
“I’m sure a lot of guys are thinking Russia and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’d go to Finland,” Rask said. “Maybe I’d try something new, because I played in Finland and I know what it is. Nothing against the league or anything, but maybe I’d try something else.”
Lucic said he knows he might have to consider alternative plans for next season, but he isn’t doing so yet.
“I’m still hopeful that there will be a season,” Lucic said. “… I’m still hopeful that hockey will be played [in the NHL] this season, but that’s something that I’m going to have to think about and make a decision on at a later date.”
Another noteworthy bit of information from the players is that they still plan on having informal practices in early September, as they do each season.
“I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the team, and it seems like a lot of guys are coming back — especially the ones with kids going to school — as if everything’s going to plan,” Lucic said. “The CBA only lasts until September 15, so we don’t have much time even if we do start in Wilmington, but definitely for us guys that are on the Bruins and are here in Boston, we’ll definitely be skating together and doing whatever until whatever needs to be resolved.”
|Looking back and ahead: Dennis Seidenberg||05.29.12 at 8:47 pm ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 80 games played, 5 goals, 18 assists, 23 points, plus-15 (career-high)
Contract status: Signed through 2013-14 season ($3.25 million cap hit).
Looking back: Seidenberg followed his best offense season (career-high seven goals and 73 points) with another solid campaign for the B’s, playing on the second pairing for the Bruins once again and posting the best plus-minus of his career.
Seidenberg’s rating didn’t come close to that of his postseason partner (Zdeno Chara had a plus-33), but consider that Seidenberg spent most of the season paired with Joe Corvo, who struggled in all areas of the ice but was especially turnover-prone, leading to scoring chances for opposing teams.
The German defenseman enjoyed his second straight healthy season, as 2011-12 was the second consecutive campaign in which he played at least 80 regular-season games and every playoff game.
In the playoffs, Claude Julien reunited Chara and Seidenberg to make a shutdown pairing, much like he did with great success in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run. Seidenberg had a modest plus-1 rating in the Bruins’ Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Capitals, but was arguably the best player on the ice for the B’s in the first round. Given that the pairing played against Washington’s first line, Seidenberg got to know Alexander Ovechkin very well through a series of big hits and collisions.
In the end, the Bruins didn’t get a chance to see how the Chara-Seidenberg pairing would fare against other opponents, and while there was plenty of blame to go around for the Bruins’ first-round failure, it would be hard to place any on Seidenberg.
A productive 2011-12 season goes down as the latest piece of evidence that teams didn’t fully understand what was there when Seidenberg remained unsigned as training camp for the 2009-10 season began.
Looking ahead: Seidenberg has two years remaining on his deal, and given what a well-conditioned athlete he is and the fact that he’s gotten better with age, the Bruins won’t want to see him leave.
He’s an absolute steal at $3.25 million annually, making his contract signed following the 2009-10 season easily one of the best deals Peter Chiarelli has pulled off since coming to Boston. The trade to get him certainly worked out for Boston too, as Chiarelli got Seidenberg and Matt Bartkowski for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second-round pick.
Next season, Seidenberg will likely remain on the second pairing during the regular season, separated from Chara until the postseason. The question is who he will have as his defensive partner. The Bruins figure to have a different mix of blueliners next season, as Greg Zanon, Corvo and Mike Mottau are all free agents and Dougie Hamilton should be a safe bet to make the team out of training camp.
If Hamilton shows early on that he can handle the workload, perhaps the Bruins could trust the former ninth overall pick with Seidenberg. Hamilton projects to at the very least be a top-six defenseman, and once he gets comfortable in the NHL after a season or two, the idea of having Chara, Seidenberg and Hamilton (plus Johnny Boychuk) would make the Bruins’ defense stellar regardless of who else is there.
|Dennis Seidenberg: ‘We didn’t play our best hockey’||04.26.12 at 1:49 am ET|
The best player on the ice for the Bruins in the seven games against the Capitals couldn’t make up for one huge deficiency — the Bruins couldn’t defend home ice.
“I mean, no, last year it was [an advantage] for us, this year not so much,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “We just, when first stepping into this didn’t seem to have our legs on. We just didn’t get anything going, it was more like a ping-pong match going back and forth until we found our rhythm in the second period, but the home ice wasn’t really there.”
Indeed, in the 2011 the Bruins went 10-3 on home ice in winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years. One year later, they barely won 1-0 in overtime in Game 1 at home and lost the next three at the Garden to see their dreams of back-to-back Cups come to a crashing halt.
“It was a long year,” Seidenberg said. “We had a few ups and downs, longer ups than downs. At the end, we came out of it strong and we seemed to find our rhythm going into the playoffs. But then again, we didn’t play our best hockey in this series. They played us well. It was tough.
“It’s definitely a weird feeling. It’s an empty feeling. You’re wondering what’s going to happen. You don’t really realize it’s over. It’s summer now. It’s going to be a long summer. A couple of bounces here or there, it could’ve gone the other way. You always have to look at it from a different perspective. The next couple of days, it’s going to sink in, probably.”
Seidenberg gave props to the seventh-seeded Capitals for hanging in as long as they did to have the chance to land the knockout punch on the champs.
“Well, they played us very well,” Seidenberg said. “They never really gave us momentum, they played very patient defensively and always used their chances to their advantage, I guess, in overtime. They just played a great series and their goalie played well and now it’s just a really weird, empty feeling, I guess.
“I mean, we totally took them serious. We knew how explosive they are offensively and how solid they are defensively. They were set to play a solid game, they seem to take our speed away pretty well all throughout the ice, and that’s what made it hard for us to penetrate on the outside or even to the middle with speed into their offensive zone.”
|Bruins getting offensive with the defense||04.24.12 at 10:21 am ET|
For all of the talk – and deservedly so – about Patrice Bergeron finally getting nominated as a finalist for the Selke award for best defensive forward in the game, it’s ironic that the offensive play of the Bruins’ defensemen is a key reason they even find themselves in a Game 7 Wednesday night against the Caps.
“Yeah, they’ve played well all series, but also I think all year and it’s just another aspect of our game that shows right there that we’re deep offensively, but also we’re deep on defense and throughout the lineup,” Bergeron said Monday. “They’ve been helping us in this series a lot to just get offense, but also defensively to stop their skilled guys and can’t say enough about all of them back there. They all do their job and they all take pride in it.”
Everyone knows about the abilities of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg in helping to contain Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. And everyone knows that both of them bring cannons from the point with their slap shots. What fans – and even the Caps – may not have counted on was the offensive contributions of Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference.
Boychuck had one of his patented “Johnny Rockets” on a power play to tie Saturday’s Game 5 at 3-3, when time was running down. Sunday, it appeared for all the world that Ference – on “Earth Day” – had given the Bruins the game-winning goal in regulation when he pinched down and scooped up a rebound off a Tyler Seguin shot and put it in the net.
Earlier in the game, it was Ference who smartly read the rush of Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley out of the offensive zone circle draw toward the slot and fired a shot that Peverley tipped past Braden Holtby for the game’s first goal.
“I think he’s done a great job,” B’s coach Claude Julien said of Ference. “We’ve always liked Andrew’s battle and also for his size and also for the fact that he certainly has good versatility. He moves well, he skates well and again, we keep encouraging our D’s to support the attack and go out the ice and he’s done a great job of that.”
There is a risk, of course, like when Chara and Seidenberg get caught too far up ice as was the case on Capitals’ goals in Games 3 and 6. In Game 6, the Capitals tied the game, 2-2, when Jason Chimera got behind Seidenberg, who had a broken skate, and beat Tim Thomas.
“Our D’s seem to be finding a little bit more balance in this series as we get near the end, between jumping in [and] supporting, and also being reliable defensively we can’t forget the fact that this is a team in Washington that’s got some guys that can score goals and they love to blow the zone quickly. So we’ve got to be careful we don’t get our D’s caught up the ice all the time, but he did a great job [Sunday] at identifying that opening and going up the ice and giving us that lead.”
The Bruins will be relying on that again in Game 7 as they look for every advantage.
|Barry Pederson on M&M: Capitals play into Bruins’ hands by focusing on physicality||04.13.12 at 1:29 pm ET|
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Mut & Merloni Friday to discuss Thursday night’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Pederson credits defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for coming up big with his physical play against Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
“If we had any doubt that Seidenberg was going to take his game to the same level it was at last year in the playoffs, man, did he ever show that,” Pederson said. “He and [Zdeno] Chara I thought did a tremendous job on the Ovechkin line. Of course, they had the advantage of having [Patrice] Bergeron‘s line out there as well. And then [David] Krejci‘s line did a great job against [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Alexander] Semin.
“The Bruins were very solid physically. Defensively I thought they were tremendous. The game I didn’t think should have been as close as it was. I thought in the second period in particular, the Bruins on the power play, they had 4 1/2 minutes to start the second period, the power play, and then they had that 4-on-3 a full two minutes. To me, that’s where the game should have been put out of reach for Washington. They only had seven shots against after two periods. The Bruins let them hang around, then they needed Tim Thomas to kind of hold the fort for them in that third period.”
Added Pederson: “The Bruins’ strength, as we all know, is their defensive game led by Thomas and Chara and Seidenberg and the physicality that they bring. If Washington wants to play that way, that to me is playing right into the Bruins’ hands. When you see a player like Ovechkin trying to take a run at Seidenberg and Chara, you could just see that pairing just licking their chops, saying, ‘Come on, bring it on. If we can get you off that offensive game and get you thinking about playing physical, that’s an advantage to us.’ ”
The Bruins struggled Thursday on the power play, a reminder of the team’s problems in last year’s playoffs.
“They were just way too stationary,” Pederson said. “When you watch the replays of it, you can just see they’re all standing — if you envision a box, they’re at each corner of the box, with the three Washington defenders allowed to collapse, and nobody was in a scoring position. So, Washington is just saying, ‘Hey, keep the puck on the outside, that’s fine, our goaltender can see it, there’s no traffic in front, there’s nobody who’s a direct threat to us.’ I just thought they got way too stationary.
“When the Bruins power play looked a little bit better that latter part of the season into the final month, they were moving around. I especially remember [Rich] Peverly on the point on the power play was very active. They were dropping down. Seidenberg would be dropping down and getting involved and not just staying stationary, moving the puck to the point. Because one of the things I was very impressed with with Washington, especially in the first two periods, they were blocking a lot of shots. So, for the Bruins to be successful, they’re going to have to get those shots through. They’re going to have to get their defense involved a little bit more by pinching and by being active in the offensive zone.”
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