When Dennis Seidenberg injured his ACL and MCL Dec. 27 against Ottawa, the word was that the defenseman was out for the season. The timetable given was 6-8 months, and he was not expected back until training camp.
But that might not be the case anymore. While there is still not a significant chance that Seidenberg will return for the postseason, the Bruins are not ruling it out. Seidenberg is ahead of schedule in his rehab from the injury, after having surgery in early January, though he has not yet started skating.
“I’m not counting on this,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said by phone Friday morning. “He’s ahead of schedule. I don’t like to say, ‘Hey, if we’re in the Finals and we’re in Game 4,’ but that’s the type of scenario. He’s ahead of schedule and you can’t rule anything out, but I’m not counting on it.”
For the Bruins, who currently lead the NHL in points and have won 11 straight after a 2-0 win over the Avalanche, the deeper into the playoffs they go, the better the chance that Seidenberg could return. The start of the Stanley Cup Final would be in early June.
But the team will be extremely cautious concerning Seidenberg’s return.
“What’s important is that people have come back early from ACLs, right?” Chiarelli said. “And they come back and they’re either not the same player or their conditioning and their rehab is good but the actual healing of the ligament is still a little raw. So we’ve got to be careful.
“He’s a tremendously conditioned athlete. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s ahead of schedule, but you can’t ignore the biological time to heal these things.”
The Colorado net stood empty for a full 5:05, with Avalanche coach Patrick Roy taking the opportunity to try to get his team on the board in the final minutes against the Bruins. It was a strategy applauded by those in the Bruins dressing room, even if it didn’t lead to a goal — on either side.
“No I haven’t, but it was obviously a good move,” Zdeno Chara said, when asked if he’d seen that before. “Put a lot of pressure on us. At that point, they had nothing to lose. They could only gain. For sure, it was earlier than we all kind of anticipated, but it was for sure a good move.”
Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson didn’t have time to analyze the situation. “I was kind of sucking wind there,” Johnson said.
“It was a surprise, but they were coming down really quick. There wasn’t much time to really think about anything.”
The Bruins became the first team to clinch a playoff spot. But that wasn’t the team’s focus heading into its matchup with Colorado. “Giving guys rest is important,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Continuing to win is important, too, and moreso continuing to play well. If you play well, you win, and we’re not so much worried about the end result as much as doing the right things from here on in. We’d like to get the end result that everybody’s looking for, but we don’t want to jeopardize some rational decision . . . to do that, and then having to suffer in the first round of playoffs because of that.” . . . Johnny Boychuk took part in the team’s morning skate, and participated in pregame warm-ups, but was a scratch for the third straight game since injuring his leg Saturday against Carolina.