NEW YORK, NY - The Bruins held an optional practice at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday afternoon, in between their 2-1 win and Game Four tomorrow night, in which they could close out the series against the New York Rangers.
Dennis Seidenberg was among the group of six defensemen (with Krug, Johnson, Redden, Bartkowski and Hamilton) and seven forwards (Jagr, Seguin, Kelly, Campbell, Soderberg, Pandolfo, Daugavins) who opted to hit the ice, along with Anton Khudobin and goaltending coach Bob Essensa in full pads, as Tuukka Rask stayed off to rest.
Following the skate, Seidenberg said that he felt good out on the ice and that he's "getting better every day."
"There's a chance, for sure," said the blueliner, when asked by media if there was a chance he could play Thursday. "Again, you don't want to come back too early, so I think we'll see how it feels tomorrow and go from there."
"It's always the same, you don't like sitting out," he added. "We talked about it a couple years ago, it's not fun watching games. It's not fun. So definitely want to be back in there and help."
Seidenberg missed the entire 2010 postseason due to injury.
Joining the veteran on the ice was Wade Redden again, who is also getting closer in his own recovery.
"Every day, they're better - and that's progress," said Coach Julien. "To me, it goes back down to making that decision when the time comes, and that decision will be made tomorrow. So, I like the direction both those guys are going in right now; we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Andrew Ference is also doing better in his recovery.
"Doing okay. He's improving, although you haven't seen him on the ice," said Coach. "I haven't talked to our trainers about his return date to the ice but I think it's getting closer all the time."
As the back end gets healthy, Coach Julien is faced with difficult decisions on who gets the call, given the significant role Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton have played in this series against New York. Though they began their NHL playoff careers with confidence, Krug and Bartkowski have been gaining even more confidence from game to game, as they get upped minutes. Hamilton had barely any hesitation in his game during Tuesday night's win.
"For the team, it's great," said Seidenberg, of the young blueliners contributing. "To see them perform the way they have, the poise with the puck, playing strong defensively is definitely something that is nice to have that depth."
"Everybody knew that they could play hockey and they were really good players in the minors. To have them come up and play with poise, confident hockey, just contributing offensively, as well as defensively is definitely very nice to see."
Though the trio has fit into the lineup seamlessly, the veteran presence of Seidenberg would add a boost to the lineup, given his experience and the shutdown playoff tandem he forms with Zdeno Chara.
With the defensmen's health on the upside, there's always the chance that Hamilton, Bartkowski or Krug could get bumped from the lineup.
"I don't think about it too much," said Krug, on if he's given any thought to how much longer he will be in the lineup. "I'm just kind of focused on my job, which is helping the team win, playing to the best of my abilities, trying to contribute to the team. When those guys come back, the coaching staff makes whatever decision they have to make. I'm fine with whatever."
"I'm going to continue to do the things I'm doing, play with confidence and try to make an impact on each game."
All the more reason Coach Julien isn't too dismayed by the decision-making that lies ahead.
"I like those - I've always said that. I like those tough decisions because that means you have some options," said Coach Julien. "When you don't have decisions to make, it's because you have no options and sometimes that is not a good situation to be in. So I'll take those any day."