When you think about the Boston Bruins defense, chances are the first and sometimes only guy you think of is Zdeno Chara. It’s tough to not think of the team’s 6’8″ behemoth captain with the booming slap shot and physical presence that often frustrates opponents into playing poorly. When looking back at the Bruins Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay, however, there’s another player who was as big a factor to their success as Chara was and it’s the guy he’s paired up with.
Dennis Seidenberg averaged more time on ice than anyone else on the Bruins against the Lightning (28:04 per game) and blocked the most shots in the series by far (24) to help buoy the Bruins defense. Seidenberg was also fourth on Boston in hits delivered behind Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, and Chara with 12. In short, when the Bruins are looking for a shutdown guy, Seidenberg gets the call.
CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty checks in with words of praise from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli about what Seidenberg means to the Bruins.
“He’s just so strong and he makes the right play. Strong on the puck, I don’t know how often you’ve seen him lose a puck battle this series. Obviously we’ve had a couple of funky games. But he actually, he had a couple games like that with Carolina, and then last year he kind of fell through the cracks a little bit. But he’s confident now. He’s a strong, strong player. He’s thick and he can log those minutes — like those twenty-five plus minutes — and recover very quickly. [He’s] a very valuable piece of the puzzle.”
Seidenberg was one of Chiarelli’s savvy deals acquiring him and prospect Matt Bartkowski from Florida in exchange for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller, and a draft pick. Since doing that last season, Seidenberg has fit into the Bruins system perfectly providing the brand of tough defensive play they like to have out of their blue liners. Seidenberg in the playoffs has also added some offensive punch too with a goal and seven assists and pinching in deep to help the offense when needed. He’s not counted on for offensive support but he’s shown that added touch in the postseason, something the Bruins are more than happy to have.
That said, Chara and Seidenberg are going to have their hands full and then some dealing with Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Alex Burrows in the Stanley Cup finals. After the performances they put on in the Western Conference finals, suffice to say they’re ready and waiting for their chance to show they can do it at one more level. It’ll be up to Chara and Seidenberg to slow them down and expect the Bruins to watch a lot of tape from Vancouver’s series with Nashville for inspiration.
Corey Perry will spearhead the leadership group looking to guide Canada to its second straight gold medal at the World Hockey Championships.
On Thursday, the Canadian contingent announced that Perry would captain the squad at this year’s tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Joining him in the leadership group will be Colorado’s Matt Duchene, and Buffalo’s Ryan O'Reilly.
“This is an energetic young team, and these three players bring a mixture of youth and experience in their leadership role on the ice and in the dressing room,” Canadian head coach Bill Peters said, per the Toronto Sun. “Their resumes speak for themselves — they know what it takes to compete at the highest level, and have all been part of pulling together Team Canada successes during these short-term events.”
Unlike Duchene and O’Reilly, Perry wasn’t a part of last year’s championship team, but does have extensive international experience. He was part of the Canadian teams that captured gold at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver at the ’14 games in Sochi.
He’s also played in a pair of World Championships, but failed to medal both times.
In just a few short months, Trevor Daley has gone from not being a fit in Chicago to being an indispensable part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The veteran defenseman played almost 30 minutes last night, by far the most of any Penguin. Despite the absence of Kris Letang and Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh was able to beat the Capitals in overtime and take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington.
“It’s funny how this game works,” Daley said, per the Penguins’ website. “You stick with it and good things happen. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m in a good place here. I’m enjoying it with a great group of guys. We just play. That’s been our motto since I got here, since (Mike Sullivan) got here – just play.”
Traded to Pittsburgh in December, with Rob Scuderi going to the Blackhawks, Daley’s strengths were immediately utilized by Sullivan. The Penguins’ new head coach came in emphasizing the importance of breakouts, and that suited Daley just fine.
“Over the years my game has been getting in the play, moving the puck,” Daley said after he was traded. “I’m not the biggest guy so I won’t push guys over. I get into areas quickly and try to be a good team guy.”
It was simply a good match. And for that, GM Jim Rutherford should be applauded. The Penguins are one game away from the Eastern Conference Final, and Daley is a big reason why.
Related: Penguins provided ‘fresh start’ for Daley
After not playing anywhere this year, longtime NHL blueliner Anton Volchenkov is back in action, having signed a deal with KHL club Admiral Vladivostok.
The deal, announced by Admiral on Thursday, puts Volchenkov back on a team for the first time since suiting up with Nashville during the ’14-15 campaign. He appeared in 46 games for the Preds, recording seven assists.
Prior to his time in Nashville, Volchenkov in over 600 games with the Senators and Devils. He’d established a reputation as a physical, hard-hitting d-man, but struggled with injury and mobility in the later stages of his time in New Jersey, and was ultimately bought out of his contract.
The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Thursday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Dallas at St. Louis (8:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Blues lead the series 2-1.
San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)
The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on CNBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Sharks lead the series 2-1.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s games:
—Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty
—Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires
—Preds smash Sharks in Game 3 to get back in series
—Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1