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Bruins say four more years to Seidenberg 06.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET
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The Bruins re-signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year deal. (AP)

Just three weeks after their season ended, the Bruins may already have taken care of one of their most pressing offseason concerns. The team announced Saturday that it has signed potential unrestricted free agent defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year deal worth a reported $13 million with an annual cap hit of $3.25 million.

Seidenberg played in just 17 games for the B’s after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with Florida on March 3. But during his brief tenure with the team, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman showcased solid physical play and the ability to generate offense from the blueline.

Generally skating with Zdeno Chara on the B’s top defensive pairing, the 28-year-old Seidenberg contributed two goals and seven assists for the Bruins and an impressive plus-nine rating. He generated an additional 23 points (2 goals, 21 assists) with Florida. His 32 total points and 28 assists for the season was the best offensive showing of his seven-year career.

The Bruins were 9-7-1 with Seidenberg in the lineup before he suffered a season-ending lacerated tendon in his forearm during a contest at Toronto on April 6.

By signing Seidenberg before July 1, the team avoided losing a top end defenseman to free agency. Boston is now assured that Chara, Seidenberg, Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference are locked in for next season.

Johnny Boychuk remains a potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, but has indicated he wants to stay in Boston.

Seidenberg and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will conduct a media conference call at 3 p.m. Saturday. Check back for updates.

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Julien has to make decisions for Game 4 05.06.10 at 3:34 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — The Bruins are focused.

It could be sensed on Wednesday which team is walking the concentrated, confident path and which one a little bit lost in the dark. The Bruins have the swagger, the Flyers need a flashlight.

So, when it comes to the loss of a key guy like David Krejci, the collective Boston dressing room bucks up and comes together to continue down the road. It is a key loss, for sure, but it is not like these Bruins have not been dealing with it all season. They lost Marc Savard to a Grade 2 concussion for two months and have been without two of their top for defenders in Mark Stuart and Dennis Seidenberg throughout the playoffs. Yet, here they are, one game away from the Eastern Conference finals.

“It is never easy to lose guys like that. We’ve got two guys in our top four ‘D’s’ who are out of our lineup still,” coach Claude Julien said. “It is part of the game. It is one that you can’t dwell on because it takes away your focus on what you need to do to succeed so as a coach you look at what you got there and you have to make the best of what you got.”

Julien has not yet made a decision on who will replace Krejci in the lineup, it will be either Trent Whitfield or Brad Marchand but the coach also has to figure out who will take rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid’s spot as well. The blue liner was lost for the rest of Game 3 after being hit behind the net in the first period on Wednesday and tallied three shifts for 1:49 of ice time. Julien said on Thursday that he had a “lower-body injury” and is “very doubtful” for Game 4. His options in the cupboard are either Andy Wozniewski, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Jeff Penner or maybe, just maybe, Stuart.

“He suffered what we would call a ‘lower body injury,’ in the playoffs. Basically, very doubtful for tomorrow but then will be a day-to-day situation,” Julien said of McQuaid.

There is still no word on medical clearance for Stuart coming back from a cellulitis infection in his left pinky. He has been skating and practicing but has not been fully cleared to get into a game. McQuaid going down will not speed up the timetable for Stuart and Julien reserves the right to make the decision on if the defender is ready when he does get clearance.

“No, we are not going to accelerate [Stuart],” Julien said. “If [Stuart] ever plays it is because he is ready to play and he is also a guy who, when I say re-evaluted, we haven’t gotten clearance from the medical staff yet but he has been cleared for full practice so all we need now is full clearance. If we do have that tomorrow, whether we get it or not, then it will be our decision.”

Stuart has been practicing with an IV cast that he moves around his arms and is still on antibiotics until May 25th. He feels he has good conditioning and has repeatedly stated the desire to get into the playoffs as soon as he is cleared. On Thursday he skated with Penner, Wozniewski, Bodnarchuk, Whitfield and Marchand along with goaltenders Tim Thomas and Dany Sabourin. Outside of the net minders, pluck two players from that list, perhaps Bodnarchuk and Whitfield as a first guess, and insert them into the Bruins lineup for Game 4 on Friday.

“I think we have a lot of guys who have been around our team for a while now and we will keep that decision probably for tomorrow,” Julien said. “I still got a whole day to sort things out here and we have a lot of guys capable of jumping in and doing the job here. It is a matter of picking and choosing who we want. So, there are still a couple of question marks. We talk about Stuart, we talk about the other ‘D’s’ available, we are definitely going to need a guy there and definitely going to need another forward. So, there will be two new additions in our lineup tomorrow.”

On a separate injury related note, Seidenberg had his hard cast removed from his left forearm on Monday to reveal a two to three inch scar from where he suffered a tendon laceration. He wears a splint over it and has been working out though not yet able to take the ice. He is about four weeks through the eight weeks of expected recovery time which might make him available if the Bruins go to the Stanley Cup Finals.

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Bruins notebook: Recchi open to contract, Rask still steady 04.21.10 at 12:26 pm ET
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The Bruins had an optional morning skate at TD Garden on Wednesday before Game 4, with 10 players participating, including goalie Tim Thomas. Dennis Wideman and non-regular players including Brad Marchand and Andrew Bodnarchuk got some ice time in.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on the ice but spoke with the media in the dressing room about his play through the first three games and how he has handled his first career NHL playoff series.

“It always helps when your ‘D’ blocks shots and makes it easy for you. It has been like that all year,” Rask said. “It is intense, great atmosphere, tight games. It has been pretty much what we have expected. It is just hockey, you don’t want to think about it too much … It is the same [as the AHL playoffs] but different players and a different level. It’s louder but still at the end of the day it is the same game, not too much difference.”

Rask has kept his cool and calm demeanor on and off the ice through the first three games of the series. He has not changed and is not planning to change. When asked if he has played to his own expectations Rask’s answer was smooth and steady.

“You know, I don’t think I have played a great game. I have played on my level and you know, so far it has helped us to win a couple of games but the guys have done a great job in front of me, leaving me so I do not have to play that great game. I just try to save every puck and if that means to play a great game, so be it. But I don’t want to give up those easy goals, you know,” Rask said.

– Coach Claude Julien touched on the power play deficiencies of each team heading into Game 4. So far the Sabres are 0 for 12 while the Bruins are 1 for 6, with the lone goal coming courtesy of Mark Recchi in Boston’s Game 1 loss at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Julien said it is a matter of making adjustments between games, especially in a long playoff series against a divisional foe that the Bruins have seen nine times so far this season.

They had some power play opportunities, obviously more than us, but you know, both teams have done a great job on the penalty kill. What happens in [the] playoffs too is we forget that you’re playing the same team night after night, so you’re seeing their tendencies and then you’re making adjustments,” Julien said. “We saw that last year, when we were in the playoffs, that it’s harder for power plays to have the success that they’ve had during the regular season because they play one team one night. They play another the next night. Every team has a chance to adjust. You have days in between games and they look at the video and make those adjustments, so it’s not as easy as it is watching and you just make the best you can out of it, and that’s why you’re starting to see teams shoot a lot more when they have those opportunities.”

– Speaking of Recchi, his contract is up at the end of the season and the 42-year-old forward has said repeatedly this season that he has not made a decision about retiring though he is probably leaning towards playing next year. He said that he and general manager Peter Chiarelli have not talked about a contract yet but that the he is open to staying in Boston.

“It has been a good spot for me here, so, yeah,” Recchi said.

Recchi is playing out a $1 million, one-year contract he signed with the team last summer and said that at this point in his career, where he has made close to $50 million in player contracts alone, money is not an issue. He is looking for a good spot to play that will give him playoff opportunities going forward.

– Injured defenseman Dennis Seidenberg began working out on Monday after getting clearance from doctors after severing a tendon in his arm. Seidenberg could not work out before that because of the risk of infection after the surgery. He said he is doing some strength and cardio work but, anything he can do that does not involve the injured arm. Seidenberg, who has a short cast on his arm, said that he will be in the cast for another for two weeks and then a splint for two weeks before starting physical therapy on the forearm. He said his range of movement in the wrist is “about 10 percent” and that would have to significantly improve before he came back.

At this point Seidenberg would be available if the Bruins make the Stanley Cup Finals that would start around the end of May. If that were to happen, Seidenberg joked that he would end up on the bench because the team would have already done so much without him.

“When they get to the Finals without me, I doubt they would play me,” Seidenberg said.

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Series keys: Clogged lanes and blocked shots 04.14.10 at 1:19 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Remember the end of the 2006 NFL regular season? Nobody thought that the Colts would be able to do anything in the playoffs because their defense could not stop the run to saves its life that year. Then Indianapolis got safety Bob Sanders back, dominated both phases of defense through the postseason and won the Super Bowl over the Bears in February.

With the two best statistical goaltenders in the league between the pipes for the Bruins and Sabres series, do not expect a Colts like turnaround for Boston’s offense. At the same time that does not mean it will be completely incapable of putting the puck in the net. The Sabres are known as a team with some good scorers (Thomas Vanek and Tim Connolly come to mind) who also crash the net and clog the lanes in the offensive zone with all five skaters.

The Bruins have been focusing on crashing the net, especially in the latter part of the season when it seemed that was the only way they could score, though have also specialized the last couple of years in coach Claude Julien’s system in making sure that their goaltenders have the best sight lines possible.

“They can complain all they want about not getting goal scoring but they have the talent,” Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo news earlier this week. “From our side we have to defend against the talent. Its the playoffs. Everything goes to zeroes. There are no stats established right now.”

That being said, the keys to this series fall within the lanes. The Sabres are known as a team that likes to send five guys towards the net, clog the shooting and passing lanes enough that it is hard for the goaltender to see the puck. This type of game, growing more prevalent in the NHL, leads to shots having eyes through traffic, deflections, tip-ins and rebounds as the primary mode of scoring.

“Well, I think everybody in the league, and I think this is no secret, is that they attack at least four and at times will have five guys by the time that they get to the goal at the top of the circle,” Julien said on Tuesday. “Rightfully so, because they are so confident about the guy between the pipes [Miller] that they feel they can bail him out.”

The Bruins have one of the forefathers of this style of play on their team in the form of veteran Mark Recchi who offered his wisdom on what the series is going to look like and how teams go about defending it.

“It is all about blocking shots, basically,” Recchi said. “It is a little harder to do things than you wanted too. You used to be able to do whatever you wanted to in front. But now there are so many people blocking and making sure that pucks don’t get to the front of the net, basically that is how you control something like that. We have to make sure that our defensemen get pucks on the net so we can create some problems.”

Recchi knows that that particular style of play will be dominant in the series and the team that controls the front of the net will have the advantage. In that regard, both the Bruins and Sabres have a lynchpin at the center of defensive cores that know how to clear the way in front of the goaltenders. For Boston that is the big man, captain Zdeno Chara. Not to be overlooked though is the fact that Buffalo has a bit of a Chara clone in the form of 6-foot 8-inch 20-year-old defenseman Tyler Myers. Which team wins that battle, experience or youth?

“He is a key player on their team,” Milan Lucic said of Myers. “It is like every team. They have a standout defenseman that you have to get after early and often. It is no secret that they are going to be getting after [Chara] early and often and try to wear him down. He is a key part of their team and we have to do everything in our power to try and shut him down.”

After Chara and Myers, the rest of the defensemen on each squad will do their best to make sure that pucks do not even make it to the net. As the Bruins stretch run of tight games running up to the playoffs have had win-or-go-home circumstances, there have been a lot of of Black and Gold bodies flying towards the point to impede impending slap shots. Dennis Seidenberg was particularly effective in that department for Boston (he led the league in blocked shots between the Panthers and Bruins) but without him, the Bruins have other players who have been willing to sacrifice their bodies. Patrice Bergeron has been known to dive in front of pucks, so has Dennis Wideman.

“Both teams are trying to do that. Both teams defensively block a lot of shots and get it lanes and that is the key to most teams actually now. You know, shot blocking is a big thing now and that is going to be a big factor in a lot of ways,” Recchi said. ”Well, they try to block you out of the lane, not let you get to the front of the net. When you do get to the front they try to get in front of you and block you out that way, so basically they are trying to avoid you getting there and blocking out and not letting the goaltender see it. What they do is step in front of you and they try to block the puck inside.”

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Seidenberg hopes to remain a Bruin next season 04.08.10 at 12:51 pm ET
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Just when things were starting to go so well on the ice for Dennis Seidenberg an odd injury forces him to watch the rest of the season from the press box.

Seidenberg will miss eight weeks with a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm which he had surgery to fix on Tuesday and expressed disappointment that his time with in Boston may be coming to a premature end. The defenseman was picked up by the Bruins on the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline from Florida along with Matt Bartowski for Craig Weller, Byron Bitz and a second round draft pick and played in 17 games with two goals and seven assists. Seidenberg’s 215 blocked shots between the Panthers and Boston lead the NHL.

Seidenberg cut the tendon in his forearm last Saturday in the first period against Toronto at Air Canada Centre. Initially he did not think the cut was that bad but after skating on Tuesday morning at Ristuccia realized that something was definitely wrong with the area and went to see a doctor. The news of a torn tendon came as a surprise.

“Well, I went through knowing something was wrong because it was really painful, I wasn’t just going there in passing,” Seidenberg said. “I was expecting something to be wrong with it but not expecting for the tendon to be torn and to have surgery was even more surprising so it was disappointing and tough to hear.”

Seidenberg does not expect the rehabilitation to be all that strenuous and sounded like a man who had been through similar injuries before. His arm was in a cast on Thursday and he said that it will stay there for four weeks before starting exercises to regain his range of motion.

“Usually a tendon takes four weeks to heal and after that you just get the motion back and get the strength back and everything. It is an easy rehabbing process,” Seidenberg said. “It could be worse. It is just a regular tendon tear and the rehab should be easy.”

Now that his time in Boston has just about come to and end, Seidenberg was asked what he thought about his time in the Hub and if he wanted to stay. Since arriving he has played exclusively as the No. 2 defenseman paired with captain Zdeno Chara and has been a solidifying presence on the blue line in lieu of Derek Morris who was traded to Phoenix the day Seidenberg was acquired. He said that he has not yet been approached by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli but that he would hope to hear from him soon to start discussing a possible future with the team.

“No, it has been pretty quiet. The last couple of days have been about finding out about my wrist and so hopefully soon something will start to happen,” Seidenberg said. “It has been good. I am playing lots and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I think I fit in nicely and I hope I stay here.”

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Big minutes coming for the blueliners 04.07.10 at 12:39 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg became the latest Boston blueliner to be sidelined when he had surgery on his forearm Tuesday. (AP)

Dennis Seidenberg became the latest Boston blueliner to be sidelined when he had surgery on his forearm Tuesday. (AP)

WILMINGTON — What happens when the core disintegrates?

You could take the movie version like in that terrible version of a modern B movie “The Core” in which there are a lot of mysterious lightning storms that happen to strike over Rome as an example. Or maybe in the new blockbuster “2012″ in which the world tears itself to shreds and humanity’s elite are forced to take refuge in the digital age version of the ark. Either way, it was not that pretty.

Perhaps not quite as dramatic, but the Bruins have relied on steady defense and goaltending this year to put themselves in position to make the playoffs despite their league-worst offense. Yet, in the last week, the Bruins have had two of their top three defensemen need to have surgery and their best blueliner and captain break his nose. Mark Stuart will miss about two weeks after having surgery for cellulitis in his finger and Dennis Seidenberg is out for the rest of the season (barring some miraculous playoff run) after having surgery to fix a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm that he sustained in the first period against Toronto on Saturday.

The Seidenberg surgery came more out of the blue because it seemed that he was all right on Tuesday after he talked to the media, giving no indication that an operation was imminent.

“I think in the morning he felt pain and obviously before the game we tried something with him and in the warmup he still felt pain,” coach Claude Julien said. “In the short time I have known him I think it is pretty obvious that he is a tough individual, so for him not to go something was obviously wrong and the diagnosis we got from Toronto was not the same diagnosis we got here.”

Add to that the perpetual mystery that is Andrew Ference (out for the regular season but being evaluated every day) and Boston has all of a sudden become very light on the back end.

Practice at Ristuccia on Wednesday looked a little more like training camp than a team preparing for its final three games in a season in a playoff race. Adam McQuaid and Andrew Bodnarchuk have been recalled to the Bruins from Providence, and the ways things are going they are up for longer than just the usual “emergency basis.” On the offensive side, Trent Whitfield and Brad Marchand are not exactly the players one would expect to see on the roster in early April, but so it goes. (To be fair, Marchand and Whitfield have earned their extended cups of coffee.)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Seidenberg out 8 weeks after surgery at 10:31 am ET
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The Bruins announced that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had successful surgery to repair a lacerated flexor carpi radialis tendon in his left forearm and is expected to sidelined for eight weeks. Seidenberg suffered the injury during the first period of the Bruins’ game vs. the Maple Leafs on Saturday in Toronto.

Seidenberg has played in 17 games for the Bruins since being acquired from the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline on March 3. He has two goals, seven assists and a plus-9 rating.

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