|What Dennis Seidenberg’s injury means for rest of Bruins defense||09.23.15 at 10:42 am ET|
The last time Dennis Seidenberg got hurt back in December of 2013, the best team in the Eastern Conference had to find someone to inherit Boston’s second-best defenseman’s minutes. This time around, things aren’t so cut and dried.
The Bruins announced Wednesday that Seidenberg, who has not taken the ice at all this training camp, would undergo back surgery Thursday and miss the next eight weeks. His absence for the next two months solves one problem and creates another.
Not having Seidenberg provides some clarity as it relates to the numbers game on Boston’s defense. The problem is that it does so by subtracting one of the only guys with ample experience as one of Claude Julien‘s most trusted defenders.
An issue for the Bruins entering camp is that they had too many defensemen, but not enough top-four blueliners. Though Seidenberg was coming off a bad season, the Dougie Hamilton trade left Zdeno Chara and Seidenberg as the only B’s with extensive top-four experience (Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid have taken on bigger roles at times over the last two seasons, but they’ve generally been reserved for playing against bottom-sixers). That the Bruins will go until Thanksgiving with three of their top-four defensemen treading relatively uncharted waters is concerning, but then again there was no guarantee that Seidenberg would have earned a top role over those guys anyway.
Seidenberg’s injury provides an opportunity for Krug, who will get his wish of being a top-four guy. Because right shot defensemen (of which the B’s have many) can’t play the left side, having a lefty to anchor the second pairing behind Chara is crucial. Seidenberg was a prime candidate if he was healthy and anything resembling his old self.
Now the candidates are Krug, Matt Irwin and Joe Morrow. The guess here is that Krug leads the second pairing with McQuaid on the right, with Irwin playing on the third pairing with either Kevan Miller or Colin Miller. While Colin Miller has more offensive upside than Kevan Miller, the absence left by Seidenberg on the penalty kill (Seidenberg led all Bruins players in shorthanded time on ice last season) could very well require the team to put Kevan Miller in the lineup over Colin Miller.
[An interesting note regarding Boston’s defense: Of the eight remaining healthy blueliners legitimately pushing for jobs — Chara, Krug, Trotman, McQuaid, both Millers, Morrow and Irwin — Colin Miller is the only that would not require waivers to be sent to Providence.]
|Dennis Seidenberg to have surgery on back||at 9:16 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will have surgery on his back and is expected to be out eight weeks, the team announced Wednesday morning.
Seidenberg is scheduled to undergo a lumbar microdiscectomy on Thursday to repair a lumbar spine disc herniation. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the 34-year-old defenseman came to team doctors last Monday complaining about nerve aggravation. The team obviously didn’t think the injury was too serious, as Seidenberg took the ice at captains’ practice the next day, though he did not participate when his teammates began scrimmaging.
Sweeney said the B’s recommended rest, but that when the issue did not subside, surgery became the obvious path. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Louis Jenis at Massachusetts General Hospital.
His absence makes it possible that the Bruins may carry eight defensemen to begin the season: Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Zach Trotman, Matt Irwin, Joe Morrow, Colin Miller and Kevan Miller.
|Seth Griffith out 3-4 weeks with sprained MCL||09.21.15 at 1:32 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Monday that right wing Seth Griffith will miss three to four weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
Griffith suffered the injury in Sunday night’s preseason game against the Devils. The 22-year-old faced an uphill climb to make Boston’s roster out of training camp, a scenario now eliminated by the injury.
In 30 games for the Bruins last season, Griffith scored six goals and added four goals for 10 points. He had 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists) in 39 games for Providence.
Griffith is the second player to be hampered by an injury this fall. Dennis Seidenberg has yet to take the ice during training camp due to an upper-body injury.
|Upper-body injury will keep Dennis Seidenberg off ice for opening days of Bruins training camp||09.17.15 at 2:24 pm ET|
Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg will not be on the ice for the opening days of training camp, as the 34-year-old is dealing with an upper-body injury suffered in training.
General manager Don Sweeney shared the news on Thursday following the team’s off-ice testing. He noted that Seidenberg is the only player of the team’s 60-man camp roster that is not expected to be ready to go.
“Dennis Seidenberg will not likely skate of the next few days,” he said. “He reported to our trainers on Monday with an upper-body injury from training, and our doctors have chosen to take a conservative approach and re-evaluate day-to-day.”
Seidenberg had been skating with his teammates at informal skates at Ristuccia Arena in recent weeks. He was spotted on the ice briefly on Tuesday, though he did not participate in a scrimmage that took up the vast majority of the session.
Though his 2013-14 season was cut short by a torn ACL, Seidenberg played in all 82 games last season for the Bruins.
|Zdeno Chara returns to Bruins practice, Dougie Hamilton won’t travel||04.07.15 at 11:19 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Zdeno Chara took the ice early and participated in Tuesday’s practice with his teammates. The Bruins captain missed Monday’s skate due to an injury suffered blocking a shot with his left foot/ankle Saturday.
Claude Julien had said after Monday’s practice that Chara’s situation was “day-to-day.” The fact that Chara stayed out for practice and did not appear limited is an encouraging sign.
Dennis Seidenberg was the only player missing from Tuesday’s practice. Julien said Tuesday that Seidenberg was under the weather but would travel with the team for their upcoming three-game road trip. Dougie Hamilton, who skated by himself for the second straight day, will not travel. The possibility always exists that Hamilton could meet the team for one of the final couple games of the regular season if he is ready to return.
Joe Morrow, who was recalled Monday morning on an emergency basis, remains with the team.
The lineup in practice was as follows:
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Zdeno [Chara] is not the same player that he was’||03.26.15 at 2:00 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to discuss the Bruins and their run to make the playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Part of the struggles for the Bruins this season has been the play of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. McGuire feels Chara isn’t the same player as he’s been in the past, as he is now 38 years old.
“Zdeno [Chara] is not the same player that he was,” McGuire said. “He’s having a harder time maintaining lots of ice time. He’s making mistakes we’re not used to seeing him make in terms of turnovers below the goal line from the hash mark down to the goal line. He’s losing guys in coverage. Getting beat wide which we haven’t seen a lot of him over the years because of that long stick.
“I don’t think he has the quickness in confined areas that he used to have and again, that doesn’t mean he can’t get it back, but it hasn’t been there for him and I am huge a Dennis Seidenberg fan and Dennis has not been the same player and I think a lot of that is because of injury more than anything else, I really believe that.”
David Krejci is likely to return to the lineup Thursday night, and the Bruins now need to find a place for him to play. McGuire says it will be an “experiment” to see where exactly he will fit in and on which line.
“I think it’s going to be an experiment,” McGuire said. “I think you’re going to take your time. I don’t think you want take away Ryan Spooner’s ice time. You don’t want to take [Patrice] Bergeron‘s ice time. You need [Carl] Soderberg to deliver for you and Gregory Campbell plays a different role. It is going to be very interesting to see how they do it. I probably would start him playing on the wing with Bergeron just because he won’t have to do a lot of the defensive heavy lifting that a center man has to do because he has Patrice there to help him out and it’s an easier position to play up high. We’ll see. Let’s be honest, Reilly Smith would be the first person to tell you he has not had a sterling season.”
As for the current status of the team, the Bruins are currently out of the playoffs in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, a point behind the Senators for the final spot. With nine games left in the regular-season, the team will need to get things going in a hurry in order to make the postseason.
“It’s not going well for them at all,” said McGuire. “There will be a lot of people watching the scoreboard tonight between Anaheim and Boston. This is not the position I’ll say just me in particular, I never thought the Bruins would be in this position. Even though I knew they would have a hard time replacing Jarome’s [Iginla] 30 goals, and he’s at 25 this year playing on a Colorado team that won’t make the playoffs and doesn’t have nearly the fire power that Boston does. But, he’s going to get 30 again, so replacing his 30 I thought would be tough and the Johnny Boychuk stuff would be tough, but I thought they would find a way doing it by committee, but they haven’t been able to do it. It’s been very disappointing.”
Bruins right wing Brett Connolly was initially expected to miss six weeks after a Dennis Seidenberg wrist shot left him with a broken finger in his second practice as a member of the Bruins earlier this month. On Thursday, Connolly skated with his teammates for the first time since the injury, following one order.
“Stay away from Seids,” Connolly recalled his teammates warning him.
Now that the initial despair from Connolly’s bad luck has turned into something he can joke about, his attention has been turned to an eventual return — or debut, rather — that could come sooner than initially thought.
After getting back on the ice last Monday and working extensively with strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides, Connolly’s progress from his surgically-repaired finger is apparent. Though he hasn’t taken contact, he’s handling the puck and shooting. Connolly is not yet taking slap shots, but slappers aren’t a priority for the right wing. Once he feels he can properly grip the stick (he says his comfort level there is at 60 percent), be able to fire wristers and snap shots to the best of his abilities and participate in battle drills, he wants to play.
Ideally, Connolly said he would be back able to play again in the final week of the regular season.
“I hope so,” he said of a regular-season return. “I’m not too sure yet. My timetable, I know I’m getting closer, so I’m expecting to be back a few games before this regular season [ends], but we’ll see.”
Claude Julien wasn’t overly forthright regarding Connolly’s timetable and whether he’s ahead of schedule. He did say the Bruins have been encouraged with what they’ve seen from the 22-year-old and that they’re eager to see him play.
The acquisition of Connolly at the trade deadline was an intriguing one for the Bruins. Though trading for the former sixth overall pick (and restricted free agent to-be) was more of a hockey deal for future seasons than a typical deadline acquisition, he was expected to slot into the lineup as a potential top-six right for the B’s down the stretch.
That obviously hasn’t happened, and Connolly has instead experienced a slow acclimation process to the team and the city. The Bruins are not yet bringing him on road trips, but Connolly said he’s established good relationships with his teammates, even if he’s spent more time with Whitesides than with any actual players.
“I’ve been here for almost a month, so the guys have been great,” Connolly said. “I’ve gotten comfortable with not only guys, but the city and knowing your way around, knowing your way to the practice facility and things like that. Just little things that make you a little bit more comfortable. It’s obviously not been the three weeks I would have envisioned, but I’ve gotten to know the city a little bit, get to know my teammates a little bit better.
“I’m excited to play that first game. Obviously we’re in a playoff hunt, so I’m looking to get back out there as soon as I can.”