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BOSTON -- The proud recipient of the Boston Bruins' Army Ranger postgame jacket was defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
In the minutes following the Bruins' 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night at TD Garden, Seidenberg was sporting the camouflage, given to the player of the game by his teammates. Seidenberg's name only appeared on the score sheet for shots on goal (1), blocked shots (6), hits (4) and giveaways (2). He logged 25:04 of ice time, which was second behind Zdeno Chara's 25:47.
|Dennis Seidenberg sports the Army Ranger jacket awarded by his teammates for doing the dirty work in Game 3.|
While the intense media horde surrounded Chara in the Bruins locker room after the win, his answers were quick and uninteresting until he was asked about his defensive partner being underappreciated outside of the room.
"Yes, of course," Chara said. "He very much deserves the credit. He logs a lot of minutes, he plays a physical game and he's willing to play whatever role we ask him to do. For sure, he's a warrior."
The real reason Seidenberg was honored by his teammates with the jacket is for the way he's been able to pick up the slack (if that's at all possible) for Chara. While Chara is still logging his typical 25 minutes of ice time during the playoffs, it seems like he's not quite himself in every aspect of the game.
"You don't hear about [Seidenberg] that much, but all the little things he does out there go a long way, especially at this time of the year," alternate captain Patrice Bergeron said. "We recognize it in this room and I'm sure that's what only matters to him."
When asked why Seidenberg was awarded the jacket, Bergeron snickered.
"Just by the little details he does on the ice and by the way he blocks shots, the first pass is a great pass on the tape," Bergeron said. "It's about the little details that go unnoticed, but not by us and it goes a long way."
At this time of the year most players are bruised and banged up, so it would not be surprising if Chara is dealing with some sort of injury. If that's the case, it makes Seidenberg's play even more important.
Chara's decline in shots on net is an indication that something could be bothering him. In the last seven games, beginning with the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chara has registered only eight shots on net. In the previous 12 playoffs games, he posted 42.
The fact that he's averaging a career-high in ice time this postseason also could be a factor.
Whether or not something else is bothering him physically, Chara suffered a minor injury during Monday's pregame warm-ups that could have been a lot worse.
Chara collided with teammate Milan Lucic, and because their helmets weren't strapped, both came flying off as the players fell to the ice. There was 3:14 remaining in the warmup, but Chara quickly skated off the ice and needed stitches to close a gash above his left eye.
It was no big deal and he was in the starting lineup.
"It tells a lot about him," Bergeron said. "It just shows the type of person he is, the type of leader he is and the character that he has. Obviously, we're happy to have him and we just feed off of his intensity and his will."
Chara was asked about the incident after the game.
"Just lost an edge. Ask me about the game," he said quite seriously.
Seeing their captain leave the ice was a bit unnerving for the Bruins.
|No matter if he was tired or hurting, Zdeno Chara was all over the Hawks' Bryan Bickell.|
"At first you're always concerned that's he's OK," Seidenberg said. "But once I got into the locker room, he was fine. He just lost an edge. The ice was not the best tonight. A few guys had to get their skates sharpened, or the sharpness adjusted. We knew he was OK once we got into the locker room."
After a shift in the first period, Chara quickly left the ice and went down the tunnel but returned for his next shift.
"I'm not going to comment on that," he said.
In the final minute of regulation, Chara and the Blackhawks' Bryan Bickell got into a scrum in front of Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
"Just a battle in front of the net at the end of the game," Chara said.
It was evident Chara did not want to talk about himself. He barely discussed the game at all. The captain already was focused on Game 4 Wednesday night at TD Garden. Another win on home ice and the Bruins will have a chance to put a stranglehold on the Cup finals.
"It's 2-1. We've got to get ready for the next game," Chara said.
For the last three seasons, a horseshoe has hung on the wall near the door leading out of the Bruins locker room. Chara brought it with him from the Czech Republic for good luck and every Bruins player touches it before leaving the room.
When the Bruins won the Cup in 2011, the players admitted a lot of luck goes into winning it all. Boston is on the verge of accomplishing that goal for the second time in three seasons and while it has been lucky on occasion, performances such as those from Seidenberg and Chara are all about skill and heart.
There's no camouflaging that.