Although he might want to hold out for a cooler nickname, Dennis Seidenberg was called “a horse” so many times during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup championship that you can’t really call him anything else.
It should be easier to take that nickname considering he wound up in the winner’s circle.
While playing just two seconds less per game than captain Zdeno Chara, Seidenberg still managed a plus-12 rating in the postseason. That only partly factors in the job that he and Chara did to completely shut down the Sedin twins in the Stanley Cup Final and the job the Bruins’ top pair did to slow down the likes of Steven Stamkos and Vinny Lecavalier in the Eastern Conference Final.
Along the way, you’d be hard-pressed to find a handful of mistakes made by Seidenberg at either end of the rink. While he endured a roller-coaster regular season, Seidenberg proved he’s a legitimate No. 2 defenseman and well worth his four-year, $13 million extension he signed last summer.
Seidenberg was one of the silent heroes of the Bruins’ Cup run because he doesn’t say much or do anything flashy on the ice. But the Bruins couldn’t have ended the 39-year drought without him.
Regular season: 81 GP, 7-25-32, plus-3
Playoffs: 25 GP, 1-10-11, plus-12
Contract status: Signed through 2013-14 at a cap hit of $3.25 million
Best regular-season moment: Down 2-0 heading to the third period in Pittsburgh Jan. 10, the Bruins rallied for four goals and the victory. And Seidenberg was right in the thick of the comeback. He drew the penalty on Jordan Staal that led to Mark Recchi’s game-winning goal and assisted on two scores, including Recchi’s tally. For the night, Seidenberg was plus-2 with three hits and four blocked shots.
Best playoff moment: In what most consider to be the closest the Bruins played to a perfect game, Seidenberg was at his defensive best in the Game 7 win over the Lightning. He logged 27:57 of ice time in the 1-0 victory and helped out Tim Thomas with eight blocked shots.
Worst moment: The Bruins had tied the score late against Pittsburgh March 5 to force overtime, but then early in the extra session Seidenberg coughed up the puck to Dustin Jeffrey in the neutral zone. The Penguins forward skated down and scored the game-winner.
Regular-season grade: B-minus
Playoff grade: A-minus. Seriously, second for second Seidenberg was the Bruins’ best defenseman throughout the postseason run. He made some mistakes, but for the most part was always in the right spot at the right time.
Carnac predicts … the Bruins will try again to split Seidenberg and Chara next season in order to better balance their defense corps for the grind of the regular season.