It has been an up-and-down first 33 games forDennis Seidenberg as a high-paid, much-relied-upon member of the Bruins’ defense corps.
There have been stretches during which he looks just like the No. 2 defenseman the Bruins decided to commit four years at $3.25 million per season to, and other periods of time when you can see why he waited until late fall 2009 to receive an NHL contract and had bounced around with a few teams before settling in Boston.
Seidenberg enters tonight’s road game against his previous NHL team Florida at what looks like it might be the start of another uptick in his performance. The 29-year-old, traded from the Panthers to the Bruins last February, bounced back from a minus-3 against Anaheim last Monday to record a plus-2 against Atlanta Thursday. He even recorded an assist — his 10th of the season — against the Thrashers.
While we all know that plus/minus can be misleading, Seidenberg says he does watch his to see how things are going.
“Like a lot of goals, it’s tough because you can’t really do anything about it,” said Seidenberg prior to the Bruins leaving for their five-game road trip. “But one way or another, you just wish you would’ve been a little more proactive and done things a little bit different.”
Including the minus-3 against the Ducks, Seidenberg had been minus-6 total in Boston’s previous five games. With his improved performance against the Thrashers, he’s back to a plus-1 on the season. More important, however, is that he recorded that assist and was looking to be more aggressive on the breakout and in the offensive zone. The Bruins are 8-3-0 this season when Seidenberg records a point, a sure sign that when he’s concentrating on contributing at both ends of the rink the Bruins are a much better club.
“We all can do it,” said Seidenberg about the Bruins’ recent focus on improving their offense from the back end with better puck distribution and carrying of the puck up the ice. “We have the personnel to do that. It’s just a mindset we have to get during the game. We have to get trained and get repetitions. And I think we’re getting better at it, hopefully.”
“Maybe I think too much,” he continued when asked why some nights are better than others for him. “When you think, you don’t look. So it’s more [I have to] react rather than thinking.”
Seidenberg leads the Bruins with 73 blocked shots, but prior to the Atlanta game (four) he had recorded just one over three previous contests. He knows he has to keep his feet moving and doing those little things — blocking shots, finishing checks — before going on the offensive. That’s the base from which all other areas of his game are built. Now it’s just a matter of putting it all together and sustaining it for longer than a few games.
That construction project begins for Seidenberg tonight in Sunrise, Fla.