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Wideman settles in

Tuesday, 10.05.2010 / 2:39 PM / 2010 NHL Face-Off
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Wideman settles in
Dennis Wideman settles in with the Panthers.
In today's topic, we take a closer look at defenseman Dennis Wideman in our Top 10 Players To Watch this season.

Going into last season, defenseman Dennis Wideman had posted back-to-back career years. The 27-year old recorded 13 goals and 36 points during the 2007-08 season with the Boston Bruins. Then he followed that up with another 13 goals as well as 50 points the next season.

Seen as one of the B's best defensemen along with captain Zdeno Chara, another solid year was expected of him as the Bruins were one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.

For Wideman however, he never really got going until the end of the season.

"I had a rough start to the year," said Wideman. "It kind of continued on until about the last 25-30 games of the year."

Looked on as one of the Bruins scape goats for their lack of success, Wideman was booed by fans throughout the season. That didn't deter the Panthers defenseman. After the Bruins snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the season, Wideman would help lead the Bruins to the Game-7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals as he posted a team high 12 points (11 assists) in 13 playoff games.

"I don't know," pondered Wideman when asked the difference between most of the regular season and the last 25 games as the playoffs. "Must have done something better...I switched my stick actually and points started coming and all of a sudden we were rolling."

Acquired in a trade just before the draft along with a first-round pick (ended up being Nick Bjugstad) and a 2011 third-round pick for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, Wideman is viewed as a puck-moving defenseman who brings a much needed boost from the blueline. Being a right-handed shot, the Ontario native should help the power play this year. Over half of his goals (26 of 46) have come with the man-advantage. All of the Panthers defensemen last year had left-handed shots.

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Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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