TORONTO – For all the bad things that can happen when razor-sharp skate blades slice through unprotected skin, Dennis Seidenberg and the Boston Bruins have to be feeling pretty lucky.
Seidenberg received a deep gash to the underside of his left arm Saturday night from Nikolai Kulemin's skate blade after he took the Toronto Maple Leafs' winger into the end boards around the halfway point of the first period.
Officials whistled Seidenberg for boarding and, with Boston's Michael Ryder already in the box for hooking, that put the visitors down two men for 1:37. The Bruins killed both penalties and would go on to win thanks to a pair of goals from Miroslav Satan in a 2-1 victory at the Air Canada Centre.
In a rare occurrence, officials actually stopped play during Toronto's two-man advantage -- with the Maple Leafs controlling the puck in the offensive zone -- once it became clear how severely Seidenberg had been cut.
"I kind of wish the guy in the penalty box had opened the door so the referee or the linesman would have recognized that," said Toronto coach Ron Wilson, while going out of his way to make it clear he did not begrudge the primacy of a player's health. "When you see somebody bleeding like that and they couldn't stop the bleeding, they stop the play to him across to get medical attention."
Bruins coach Claude Julien expects Seidenberg to be lineup on Monday when the Bruins visit Washington.
"He should be fine for our next game," Julien said. "Obviously because it was a skate cut, a skate play, they had to make sure that he was okay and went to the hospital and made sure there was no tendon damage or any of that stuff."
Seidenberg's absence further depleted a Bruins blue line corps that began the game without regulars Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart, forcing the team to recall Andrew Bodnarchuk on an emergency basis from Providence of the AHL.
Julien praised the work of his defensemen who filled in the gap created by the absence of the German Olympian, who in 16 games since arriving in a trade last month, is second only to Zdeno Chara with an average of 24:05 of ice time per game.
"I thought our top four 'D' who got most of the ice time just played their hearts out tonight," said Julien.
Chara played a game-high 32:53, while Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman and Johnny Boychuk each played more than 26 minutes.
"Obviously we all had to step up and log a little more minutes," said Chara.
Jeremy Sandler covers sports for the National Post newspaper in Toronto.