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Seidenberg, McQuaid Getting Back Up to Speed on the Blueline

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BostonBruins.com - Defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid missed a combined 99 games due to injury during the 2013-14 season.

Seidenberg was out 48 of those games after suffering his ACL/MCL tear on December 27. McQuaid was sidelined three separate times with groin issues throughout the season while dealing with a long-term ankle injury that needed offseason surgery. January 19 marked his last time wearing the Spoked-B in 2013-14 game action.

The pair of blueliners each missed the Bruins' 12 playoff games on top of that.

While Sunday night's Black & Gold Scrimmage in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center didn't resemble a Game 7 in the postseason, it offered an opportunity for both Seidenberg and McQuaid to test out their conditioning at a higher, tougher pace than they've been experiencing so far during training camp.

It had been a while since they were battling, taking contact and being physical in game-like situations.

For Seidenberg, it had been nearly nine months. For McQuaid, it had been just over eight.

"It was good, I saw them skate the last two days - to put them in game action obviously was good with where they were last year," General Manager Peter Chiarelli said following the scrimmage.

"They both tested outstanding, and it's going to take them a little while to get back up and running."

Everyone is working through kinks in their game right now, with only two days of formal, high intensity on-ice sessions prior to the scrimmage and Head Coach Claude Julien's tweaks to the systems.

"But any time you have players that are injured and that have missed the tail end, or in Seids' case, a lot of the season, it's nice to see them back, shaking off the rust," said Chiarelli. " But I thought they were fine. I thought Adam's game - Adam was sharp, and I think Seids was fine also."

"It was fun, it was a little rough, but I think that's why you play those games, to get the little kinks out of your game," Seidenberg smiled postgame. "It was a good way to get started."

"And it was a tough loss," he added with a slight laugh, given Team Bergeron's 6-1 loss to Team Chara (in a scrimmage in which the score is the last part that matters).

"But we all need to get better and that's I think what everybody tried to do."

Seidenberg has been retraining the muscles around his new knee ligament all summer, and now it's about getting the movements to feel second-nature again during game intensity.

"Going into corners, just picking up pucks off the wall, knowing how to approach a 1-on-1, it's just something you have to do in order to feel comfortable," he said.

'Big Zee' helped him out with that, slamming him into the boards with a heavy hit.

"I mean, I expected it - I saw him coming, I was like 'Oh my God, I'm out of position. I'm opened up and I've got no chance, I might as well just let go,'" laughed Seidenberg.

"It was good. I think he wanted to give me that little test and he did, so it's all good."

Though it had been several months since he could take contact in a game, it wasn't necessarily a benchmark for Seidenberg to accomplish.

"I didn't really think about the first game or playing after such a long time again," he said. "It was just something that I approached, trying to get comfortable again, trying to figure out my feet, how to move my feet, how to place myself, position myself, so it was good."

McQuaid had also been looking forward to the scrimmage, for the same reasons as Seidenberg, and was ready to jump into it.

"I feel like I'm getting more and more comfortable," McQuaid told BostonBruins.com prior to the scrimmage.

"Even though it's just the Black & Gold game, it will be a good test for me and I'm excited about it. I think it's kind of neat for a lot of guys to go back and play a game in Providence - a lot of guys have spent time there and put in a lot of work there, so it's going to be neat to be back there again, too."

McQuaid, along with many former P-Bruins now wearing the Spoked-B, got a nice, loud welcome from the sellout Providence crowd at The Dunk during pregame announcements.

That likely felt good for the D-man, who waited eight long months to make a return.

"We've been doing some game-like situations in our practices, so I think it will give us a good feel for where we're at, really," the blueliner had said. "You might think you're feeling better than you are in some of these situations and then you get in a real game situation and realize maybe not so much, so I think it will be good to get one in early on, and we can really build from there."

Like Seidenberg, McQuaid is glad to be tested right away at the start of camp.

"Physically, it's tough, but I'm enjoying it, that's the part of the game I enjoy," said McQuaid. "I enjoy that competition and the battling, so I'm looking forward to doing more of that."

As Seidenberg knows, Chara would be happy to help out in that regard.

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