|Tim Thomas: ‘It’s time to start righting the ship’||11.15.10 at 11:40 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was happy to admit that his fourth shutout of the season was a collective effort. Thanks to the blocked shots of Dennis Seidenberg and captain Zdeno Chara effectively rubbing out Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrick Elias, Thomas faced just 28 shots and stopped them all in a 3-0 win over the Devils Monday night at TD Garden.
But that wasn’t the biggest story. The Bruins managed to put three pucks behind future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, one more than they scored during an unlikely three-game home ice losing skid.
“There was definitely a little urgency but it was a controlled urgency,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t a panicked urgency. It was more like, ‘Hey, it’s time to start righting the ship and tonight’s a good place to start.'”
The Bruins were just 2-4-1 on home ice this season.
“I personally approached it as a must-win and I think the team did too,” Thomas said. “We need to get back on track; we need to show some urgency. We faced a team that’s been playing better but has struggled this year, and we needed to come out with the win so that we could start building and getting back to the game that we were playing when we were having success.”
Thomas did face pressure at times, like late in the second period when the Devils fired the last six shots of the period.
“Yeah, that and the first couple minutes of the game there,” Thomas said. “Elias was very, very patient. You know, there was some times where we really controlled the play for long periods of time and there were other times where they made a push and I just had to be on my toes and the team had to be on their toes for the rebounds.”
The way it played out, Thomas weathered the storm at the start, and had pretty much clear sailing the rest of the way.
“I don’t know, well, you could look at it either way. Yeah, it could be tough, or looking back, it actually could help get me into the game,” Thomas said. “And it happened so quick that I didn’t have time to think about it. I didn’t have time to think, ‘Is this really happening in the first minute of the game?’ It was just like, ‘I got to find some way to stop this thing.’
“It’s a similar feeling to how I felt against Washington, probably early this year was the closest that I kind of felt like that. I just felt like they weren’t going to find a way to score.”
As the minutes wound down, he could sense he was closing in on his 21st career shutout, just 91 shy of his counterpart Monday night.
“The last several minutes you start to put some emphasis because you don’t want to work that hard and not get it,” Thomas said. “I used to not care about shutouts and I still don’t for the most part, but that was 21 and 25 is a milestone that few people reach in the NHL.”
|Dennis Seidenberg confident in Bruins defense without Johnny Boychuk||10.25.10 at 5:22 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ blue line was all the rage on Monday. Johnny Boychuk talked about the fractured forearm that will require a cast and keep him out four weeks, while Adam McQuaid spoke of his readiness to seize the opportunity that’s been put in front of him. With Boychuk out, McQuaid in and the Bruins’ defensive pairings shaken up, one veteran is confident that the team will get along just fine.
“He played on the top pair with [Zdeno Chara], so it’s going to be tough to replace a guy like Johnny, but I think McQuaid is going to do a good job,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “… I think we’re deep enough to replace a loss like Johnny, but I think we’ve just got to play our system and support each other well, and we’ll be fine.”
McQuaid said on Monday that he was going to do his best to fill the “big shoes” of Boychuk, but replacing a top-two defenseman is more than a one-man job. Each defenseman will have to make slightly bigger contributions, whether they be in the form of minutes or otherwise. Boychuk had averaged 20:23 of ice time through the Bruins’ first six games.
Seidenberg was correct in noting that while he expects his fellow blueliners to pick up some extra slack with Boychuk out, how much more each man can give depends on the player.
“Johnny was logging a lot of minutes, so everybody has to pick up a little bit,” Seidenberg said. “I don’t know if Z can pick up any more minutes than he played last game [31:48], but I think the other guys can definitely chip in a little bit more and help.”
Seidenberg remains on a pairing with Mark Stuart, though on Monday Andrew Ference made the jump to the top pairing with Chara, leaving McQuaid with Matt Hunwick on the third pairing. The team may continue to tinker with who plays with whom, and Seidenberg is open to anything.
“Playing with Z is always good. It makes stuff a lot easier, like I’ve said a lot of times before,” Seidenberg said. “But again, I think everybody’s going to play with everybody, and you just have to communicate out there.”
|Matt Hunwick hopes to build on a solid Sunday||10.15.10 at 4:02 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The differences between the Bruins’ first two games were telling enough without having to dive into the box score. The shots on Sunday were there as they had been the night before (37 after a 42 shot effort in Saturday’s 5-2 loss), but the team was more consistent offensively in addition to recovering from a very sloppy defensive night. The turnovers that doomed the team in the season-opener disappeared on Sunday while poor individual performances were made a thing of the past by stronger efforts.
One of the players who experienced a night-and-day weekend was defenseman Matt Hunwick. After posting a team-worst minus-3 plus/minus on Sunday and having his pairing with Dennis Seidenberg separated mid-game, Hunwick was one of the better ice in the team’s second game. Hunwick had three shots on goal and tied for a team-high plus-two.
Yet while many of the players who saw improved performances from one day to the next in Prague, it was Hunwick’s effort that could end up meaning more to the Bruins as the season goes on. To the casual observer, you couldn’t notice him in his own end — a good sign — while he also showed strong signs of being the puck-moving defenseman the team lost in the Dennis Wideman trade.
“I think it’s funny. You look at the stat sheet after, and you don’t really think you did too much different from game to game, but sometimes you get the bounces and you get the pucks, and the assists. Sometimes you don’t,” Hunwick told WEEI.com recently. “That’s kind of how the game works, but collectively we obviously played a lot better in the third period on Saturday and carried that right into Sunday and played three good periods. That’s the idea of where we want to be.”
Hunwick displayed impressive vision on the ice and was one of the players who stood out on the power play. While he figures to continue to see time on the man advantage, the hope with the 26-year-old is that his contributions aren’t limited to how he can help the team offensively.
“First of all, I have to be good in my own end, that’s where it starts,” Hunwick said when asked about what he expects from himself in his fourth season. “Especially for a team like this. I think my role is expanding a little bit.
“I’ve been playing on the power play, and I feel like I have to be a facilitator on that unit and also learn to shoot the puck and create opportunities for the other guys that are out there. That’s a lot bigger role than I had last year. I think I started doing that in the playoffs, and now this year that will hopefully be a role that I have all season long.”
|Andrew Ference, Dennis Seidenberg return to Bruins practice||10.14.10 at 10:54 am ET|
Ference had recently received a cortisone shot in his thumb and was advised by doctors not to shoot pucks. As a result, he skated prior to practice on Wednesday but left the ice before the skate began. Seidenberg, meanwhile, left Wednesday’s practice after half an hour with what coach Claude Julien said was either a touch of the flu or food poisoning.
The Bruins, 1-1 on the season, will play their third game on Saturday when they travel to New Jersey to square off with the Devils.
|Prague prep: Jet lag tips and a geography lesson from Dennis Seidenberg||09.29.10 at 12:44 am ET|
With the Bruins gearing up for their preseason-concluding and season-opening trip to Europe, the anticipation throughout the locker room is rather apparent. Though some may know the respective areas of Belfast and the Czech Republic better than others, all seem to be genuinely excited for the trip.
Count Dennis Seidenberg among those players, but factor in that when he speaks of heading overseas to open the regular season, he speaks from experience. Last season, he, Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, and the rest of the Panthers made the trek to Finland for a couple of preseason games and two regular season matchups with the Blackhawks, the latter a series in which the Panthers split with the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
As much as Seidenberg, a native of Germany, enjoyed the trip, he found the travel of the preseason to be a bit much, and it would be hard to blame him based on the team’s preseason schedule: at Novia Scotia, at Ottawa, at Montreal, at Edmonton, at Calgary, at Dallas, home at Florida, and finally to Finland. Given that the Bruins’ travel this preseason has consisted of Montreal, New York, and DC as its road games, Seidenberg isn’t concerned the side effects that accompany a hectic schedule will be factor this time around.
“This year we definitely didn’t have all the traveling we had with the Panthers. We had a couple of road games, but they were pretty close, so traveling wasn’t a problem at all,” Seidenberg said. “I think we’ll get in there a little more rested, a little better prepared and it should be a good experience for everybody.”
The Panthers took the first game in a shootout. That was the good. The bad was the lesson that a hockey player’s schedule and jet lag don’t exactly fit together well. The Panthers played all four of their European games in the span of six days, while the Bruins arrive Thursday morning and will play their four games over an eight-day span (Oct. 2-10).
“The tough part was the time change, because every day around noon or three or four, you just wanted to go to sleep and sleep for the rest of the night,” Seidenberg said. “You just can’t do that. It takes a few days to get used to it, but that’s why we’re going over there a little earlier.”
Belfast is five hours ahead of EST, while Prague is six hours ahead. Seidenberg added that dealing with each countries quirks — whether they be food or anything else — does make the experience “a little bit different” but that “you get used to it pretty quick.”
Though nobody on the squad is actually from Prague and David Krejci hasn’t been there in several years, Seidenberg is among the players expecting family at the games. Hailing from Villingen-Schwenningen, West Germany, Seidenberg’s family will make the six-hour drive to Prague. The team’s final preseason game will be played in Liberec, which is about an hour north of Prague. With Villingen-Schenningen near the Swiss border and Liberec right around the Poland border, Seidenberg doesn’t expect his family to make that trip.
|Seidenberg having ‘no problems at all’ with forearm||09.08.10 at 2:47 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Last year defenseman Dennis Seidenberg didn’t know where he’d be playing the coming season. A free agent, he had yet to find the right deal and didn’t become a Florida Panther until two days in to training camp. After being traded to the Bruins and locked up by the team in the offseason, Seidenberg is getting an early start this year, taking part in captain’s practices in anticipation for the coming season.
“It’s nice, Seidenberg said of starting the preseason process in a situation with which he’s familiar. “I know everybody. I know what to expect, so I think I can just build on what I did last year. I’m really looking forward to getting started and just get going.”
After missing the playoffs with a lacerated tendon in his left forearm, Seidenberg said he is experiencing “no problems at all” and has felt healthy since June. He may begin wearing protective sleeves and socks to prevent any cuts in the future.
A teammate of Nathan Horton’s last season with the Panthers, Seidenberg echoed the winger’s comments about coming into a playoff atmosphere and how it should help Horton.
“I think he’ll flourish a lot. Florida I think can get old after seven years of there and just not being in a hockey city,” Seidenberg said. “I think being here is going to help him a lot, energize him, and I think he’ll be playing great here.”
The Panthers opened last season in Helsinki, Finland, so Seidenberg might know what to expect a bit this year when the team travels to Belfast and Prague. Seidenberg admitted that aspects of all the travel were “a lot to handle” at times, but called it a good experience.
A native of Germany, Seidenberg expects family to make the eight-hour drive to watch the B’s open the season October 9 against the Coyotes.
|Bruins say four more years to Seidenberg||06.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
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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