MARGATE CITY, NJ - For seven and a half months, Dennis Seidenberg hasn't played a game in a Bruins' uniform.
Since his season-ending ACL/MCL injury at the end of December, the defenseman has been working to get his right knee - now etched with a scar below his kneecap - back to full strength.
He spent nearly five of those months on the sidelines in Boston, watching every game and forced to not be able to take part.
The next two and a half months have been spent in Margate City, New Jersey, the place where he and his family call 'home' in the offseason.
It's where the BostonBruins.com crew took the latest #BearTracks trip, to check in with the defenseman about his offseason and his knee's progress.
Here, amidst the quaint shore town with miles of beach that stretch north to Atlantic City and south towards Ocean City, it's been easier for him to focus on the future.
"Really looking forward to [being back in Boston]. It was a long summer -- a long winter as well, for me," said Seidenberg, breaking into a slight smile. A very long winter.
For now, the rugged blueliner is enjoying summer's change of pace in a place that will always remind him of his first few years in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Margate City is only about an hour drive from Boston's nemesis.
"When I started playing, my first team was with the Flyers and that's where I met my wife, Rebecca. She grew up in Ocean City, so ever since I played there, we came here in the offseason for the summers and we'd spend our time here," said Seidenberg.
"We have activities with the kids - they do tennis and gymnastics - or we go to the beach or go on the boardwalk. There's lots of stuff to do for them, there are good rides and fun rides for them, and they just love it."
The most important aspect of Seidenberg's summer to-do list in New Jersey, though, is his training and getting his knee to 100 percent.
"The knee is doing well," he said. "I went on the ice with my brother's [Yannic] team in Germany last week for a week, skating four or five times, and it didn't feel great, but that's something I expected before I went on, because I haven't been on for a few months."
"So it's going, I think, like we expected."
Seidenberg didn't take any time off after the end of the Bruins' season. For him, it was about continuing his long recovery process, re-training his knee to do everything that was second-nature to him before the injury.
"I think the more I go on [the ice], the more my knee gets used to it, and like always, I never feel good when I start skating every summer - so it will take some time, but once training camp starts, I should be fine."
"I mean, I have a new ligament in my knee, and everything else was just kind of kept still for quite a while, everything just shut down, so you have to re-train your leg, your muscles, get it stable and then get it to work the way you want it, so it takes some time."
"And that's why an injury like this takes such a long time, they say 6-8 months, so it really does, but I think in the end, everything will be good."
After the playoffs in early May, when the Black and Gold were ousted by the Habs in Game 7, Seidenberg disclosed that he could have made a comeback in the next round.
The extra time that came as a result has helped keep him on the right path, but the seven and a half months without game action for the Bruins has been difficult.
"Those times during my injury when the guys were still playing, it went slow. It was painful just to go to every game and watch," he reflected. "Then there were times when it was going well and I saw progress with my injury, but then once the season was over, it's basically just getting ready for next season again, and looking forward to it, because it's going to be eight months the next time I step on the ice [in Boston], and I'm looking forward to it."
After a long winter for himself, and a long summer for the team, Seidenberg - and his knee - are ready to officially get back to work.
"I'm really looking forward to having a structured day again, with the kids going to school, and I'm going to practice, having games, and the whole family's looking forward to go back," he said.
"And me - just playing hockey again."