Another big step on Tuesday in Dennis Seidenberg’s improbable in-season comeback from a torn ACL — he took part in a full Bruins team practice, the first time he’s done so since suffering the injury in late December.
Update: Tap the brakes ever so slightly — Seidenberg isn’t partaking in contact drills…
Dennis Seidenberg not taking part in contact drills. Brad Marchand missing from ice. Daniel Paille skating in spot on 2nd line #BruinsTalk
The German rearguard was put on a pairing with Andrej Mezsaros in place of Corey Potter, who had been manning the unofficial No. 8 d-man role (Potter made just one appearance versus Detroit in the opening round.) It’s the latest in what’s been an accelerated return from a serious knee ailment — on Apr. 9, Seidenberg skated for the first time since surgery and, less than a month later, he’s partaking in practice.
The Bruins have been very guarded about Seidenberg’s chances to return this postseason, saying they weren’t ruling it out but also adding they weren’t optimistic about him coming back. Though they’ve played well without him, the B’s could certainly use Seidenberg’s services — he’s emerged as a terrific shutdown defenseman and, during last year’s Stanley Cup run, averaged nearly 27 minutes a night.
Without Seidenberg — and fellow blueliner Adam McQuaid — in the lineup, Boston has relied on youngsters like Dougie Hamilton (20), Torey Krug (22), Matt Bartkowski (25) and Kevan Miller (26) extensively this season, and has managed to squeeze some decent minutes out of trade deadline pickups like Potter and Meszaros.
As for the likelihood of Seidenberg returning to the lineup in the second round — there’s no set date on when the Boston-Montreal series will begin, though logic suggests it could start on Friday at TD Garden.
With training camp and the preseason now in full swing, it appears the Bruins are bringing in a veteran blue liner — at least on a professional tryout.
On Friday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported that unrestricted free agent blue liner Christian Ehrhoff is about to join Boston on a PTO following his showing at the World Cup of Hockey.
In six games with Team Europe, Ehrhoff had three assists — all at even strength — and nine shots on goal.
Ehrhoff is now 34 years old, and the Bruins already have a pair of seasoned defenders in Zdeno Chara (39 years old) and John-Michael Liles (35 years old) on their roster. Adam McQuaid turns 30 years old in October.
He was most productive during two seasons in Vancouver, a puck-moving defenseman that could effectively skate the puck out of trouble and move the attack that way if need be. But that was from 2009 to 2011. His production has dipped, especially over the last three years.
He was also pivotal to Vancouver’s power play, especially in 2011 when the Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy and made it to the Stanley Cup Final — against Boston.
Again, that was five years ago.
Lehner (forearm contusion) to miss preseason game versus Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs play the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. But No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews won’t be in the lineup, according to multiple reports.
“Sooner or later, he’s going to get in, but not tonight,” said assistant coach Jim Hiller, as per the Toronto Sun.
“The lineups are day by day. They (World Cup players such as Matthews, Milan Michalek, Leo Komarov and James van Riemsdyk) went through a solid three weeks. It’s a little break, a little down time. There are tons of games coming. They’ll get a lot of ice time. They’ll get in shortly.”
(The report also notes that Matthews is not dealing with a health issue, which is obviously good news for the Leafs.)
Matthews played for Team North America at the World Cup held in Toronto. He had two goals and three points in three round robin games, but the young North American team was unable to advance to the semifinal round.
The Maple Leafs play the Montreal Canadiens at home on Sunday.
McLellan: Maroon’s lower-body injury not considered serious
It appears Patrick Maroon‘s injury from Wednesday’s preseason game against the Vancouver Canucks looked worse than it is.
The Edmonton Oilers forward was in obvious pain immediately after he went hard into the boards from an awkward hit delivered by James Sheppard just past the midway point of the third period. Maroon needed help to the bench and was unable to put much, if any, pressure on his left leg.