Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg's return provides hope for Bruins' stability

Ken Laird
November 12, 2015 - 7:01 pm

In terms of this season's monetary compensation rankings, the Bruins got their No. 2 defenseman back from injury on Thursday night. And while Dennis Seidenberg wasn't on the ice nor responsible for any of the three Colorado goals scored in a 3-2 come-from-ahead loss to the Avalanche, neither did Seidenberg's mere presence in the lineup solve Boston's biggest woes so far in 2015-16: erratic team play and a penchant for blown leads, particularly on home ice at TD Garden. "We had a good start like we have had in the past," said Seidenberg, back on the ice after missing the season's first 14 games due to back surgery. "A lot of games, actually. We just didn't follow up, we kind of lost our game, getting pucks deep and moving our feet. They took it to us. They scored two goals in that first [period] coming back, and then we were just kind of flat it seemed like and just couldn't get it back on track putting pressure on their net." If that game analysis sounds familiar to you, you're not alone. Coach Claude Julien has heard it and seen it, too. "Same old, same old, I guess," said Julien. "We were off to a good start again and you get a 2-0 lead. Instead of continuing to play your game you're starting to see long passes that end up in icing, you saw some turnovers at the blue line. We're a little stubborn right now respecting our game plan the whole game." Julien continued: "You're so proud of your team one night because they come in and play hard and you win hockey games and you tell yourself this is the identity of our team. This is how we've got to play. And then the next night it's not there. Not every night's going to be perfect, some nights you've got to grind it out a little bit more and this is what we should've done tonight, [but] we didn't seem to be in sync." Perhaps when Seidenberg can ascend to playing peak minutes, that synchronicity will come. With Seidenberg not having the benefit of a training camp, Julien monitored the defenseman's minutes on Thursday by giving the 34-year-old just 15:34 of ice time, some nine minutes less than Zdeno Chara. But by several accounts, Seidenberg looked good enough to take on more action, and quickly. "He did well for a guy that hadn't played all this year," Julien said matter-of-factly. "He seemed to be really solid back there," said goaltender Tuukka Rask. "It's never easy to come back after a long period of time, but he looked good tonight." Even Seidenberg seemed pleased with his 2015-16 debut. "It felt all right," Seidenberg said, after noting before the game he was concerned about his leg strength from the places he could feel nerve pain prior to his back surgery. "Obviously there's more work to be done. But I think it was a good first step and it's going to get better for sure. It's been a long time, I was very nervous coming into the game but very excited as well. It was a good feeling." With only 38 goals to his name over a 12-year NHL career, Seidenberg's return won't be a direct game changer in terms of providing goals. But it might calm down the B's back end and help their breakouts become more efficient. "It's the puck movement from our back end," Julien said when asked about where team improvement is needed. "Sometimes it is there, and tonight it wasn't. We've got to be a little bit better with that. Consistency in our game. You see it one night, you don't the next." "My role is to play my brand of hockey, which is playing solid defensively and penalty killing," Seidenberg said. "Just making the simple play, playing physical hockey and winning my battles. That's what I have to focus on."