Bruins’ Jim Benning sought by Sabres
NEW YORK — On Tuesday, the Bruins gave Buffalo permission to interview assistant general manager Jim Benning to replace former GM Darcy Regier. Pat LaFontaine, Buffalo’s new president of hockey operations, submitted the formal request.
Benning is on a short list to become Buffalo’s seventh GM in team history. Other known candidates include Pittsburgh assistant GM Jason Botterill and Montreal assistant GM Rick Dudley.
Benning was one of Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli’s first hires in 2006. Benning served as the Bruins’ director of player personnel for one season. He was promoted to assistant GM July 14, 2007. Benning’s strength is in player evaluation at all levels.
Before arriving in Boston, Benning was Buffalo’s director of amateur scouting. Sabres drafted under Benning’s watch include Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy, Paul Gaustad, Daniel Paille, and Dennis Wideman. Miller is the only player remaining in Buffalo.
If Benning lands the opening, one of his first moves might be trading Miller, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Regier and coach Ron Rolston were fired last Wednesday. Ted Nolan is the interim coach. The new GM will have the option to fire Nolan and hire a permanent coach.
Dennis Seidenberg played only one shift in Tuesday night’s 2-1 win over the Rangers before leaving with a lower-body injury. Seidenberg was injured during a net-front tangle with Derek Dorsett. Seidenberg stayed on the ice but left after his shift, favoring his left leg.
Seidenberg was on the ice for 61 seconds. It is unknown whether Seidenberg will be available for Thursday’s home game against St. Louis.
Seidenberg has played in all 21 games. He has no goals and six assists. Seidenberg has been the left-side defenseman on the No. 2 pairing with Torey Krug.
It was the third time this season the Bruins lost a defenseman mid-game. Johnny Boychuk hurt his back in the second period of the 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim Oct. 31. Adam McQuaid was hurt in the first period of the 3-1 win over Toronto Nov. 9 when turning and pursuing a puck.
Because of Seidenberg’s injury, Zdeno Chara played a season-high 31:27. The Bruins matched Chara against the Rangers’ top line of Rick Nash, Brad Richards, and Ryan Callahan. Chara was credited with five hits and three blocked shots.
“It says a lot,” coach Claude Julien said of his five healthy defensemen assuming more shifts. “This is not just a game. This is a back-to-back game with travel. I thought they did a good job. I look at Zdeno at the end and how he was strong, poised, and getting pucks out of our own end. There wasn’t much panic.”
Matt Bartkowski hurt his left knee in the second period. Callahan belted Bartkowski, sending him into the boards. Bartkowski limped off the ice. He recovered on the bench and finished the game (21:13 of ice time, two shots, one hit).
Nash back in
Nash played Tuesday night for the first time since Oct. 8. Nash missed 17 games because of a concussion. The No. 1 left wing had a team-high five shots in 17:55 of play.
“For only having a couple of practices and stepping in tonight, he had three or four Grade-A scoring chances,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Sooner or later those are going to start going in.”
Nash was injured in the third regular-season game when ex-Bruin Brad Stuart elbowed the former Columbus captain in the head. In the previous game, Nash had two assists and six shots.
Nash has had two concussions this year. On Feb. 12, Nash was injured after Milan Lucic delivered a hard check.
McQuaid has skated the last two days. McQuaid, who missed his fifth straight game because of an undisclosed injury, probably will not be available against St. Louis Thursday night. But Julien said it’s possible McQuaid could return Saturday when the Bruins host the Hurricanes . . . Patrice Bergeron played in his 600th career game Tuesday night . . . Krug played only 15:44 despite the departure of Seidenberg. It was the third-lowest amount of time Krug played this season. Krug had trouble on his first shift when Dorsett bumped him off the puck . . . Bergeron won 18 of 23 faceoffs . . . Neither Lucic nor Brad Marchand recorded a shot . . . Jordan Caron was a healthy scratch for the ninth time in the last 10 games. Caron replaced Shawn Thornton against Carolina. In the third period, Caron replaced Marchand on the second line. The Bruins wanted a more defensively responsible presence alongside Bergeron. “Being good on the forecheck, being strong on the puck, making plays down low,” Caron said of the qualities that led to his promotion. “I think that’s what I did tonight. I think that’s why they gave me some time with that line.” . . . Michael Del Zotto was a healthy scratch for the third straight game. The puck-moving New York defenseman has one goal and three assists in 16 games.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.