BOSTON -- When asked whether he’d be back in the lineup for Saturday’s Game 5 against the New York Rangers, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg responded with the equivalent of: Talk to the man in charge.
If he was cleared to be back, he would have played in Thursday’s Game 4 overtime loss at Madison Square Garden. But the past is past, and the Bruins move on to another chance at closing out their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“Before I make any decisions, I have to talk to them first,” Seidenberg (lower-body injury) said of his status.
He then added, “Nobody likes watching hockey games, especially this time of year.”
Perhaps the urgency for the defenseman’s return was exacerbated by some uncharacteristic defensive (and mental) gaffes exhibited in Game 4, as the Rangers came back from a 2-0 deficit to live another day.
However, Seidenberg was adamant that no external circumstances would change the timetable of his return.
“I wanted to come back last night, too, but you have to be smart about what you’re doing with whatever damage has occurred,” said Seidenberg, who hasn’t skated since being injured on his first shift of Game 7 of the quarterfinals against the Maple Leafs. “You don’t want to put the whole playoffs in jeopardy. You have to be smart about it and come back at the right time.”
Seidenberg again skated with the team in a brief (25 minutes) but spirited session at TD Garden on Friday, as did Wade Redden (undisclosed). Seidenberg noticeably moved easier as the workout elapsed. "When you get warm, the muscles seem to work better with a knee, or whatever it is,” he said.
On Thursday night, all he could do was watch.
“We knew we played a good game [with] a couple of hiccups there. But for the most part, I think we got pucks to the net and had quite a few chances, especially on the power play,” he said.
He also lent credit to rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who was on the ice for Boxford-bred Chris Kreider’s overtime game winner. Hamilton came down hard on himself postgame.
“We’ve all been in that situation,” Seidenberg said. “He’s a good player, he played well. He made a very nice pass on Tyler’s [Seguin] goal. He doesn’t need to get down on himself if something like that happens. I’m sure he’ll get over it and he’ll come out even stronger.”
Coach Claude Julien was also quick to applaud Hamilton’s accountability following Thursday night’s loss.
“They’re not afraid to say, 'Well, I made a mistake,'" Julien said in a press conference following Friday’s skate.
On Hamilton’s play, he added, “We’ve played four games in the series, and then you look at one goal and do you jump all over him for that? Or do you give him a pat on the back for everything he’s done so far in the series and us being up 3-1?
“I think it’s more of that.”
So the next logical question begs, if Seidenberg is ready to go, who’s the odd man out?
“We’ll just try to stay in the moment and win the next one,” Seidenberg said.