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Dobson of Islanders feels at home with Seidenbergs during NHL pause

Defenseman working out with retired player, bonding with family on Long Island

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Noah Dobson could have gone home when the NHL season paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, but the New York Islanders defenseman said he wasn't interested in changing his current living situation.

The 20-year-old, who is from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, has been living all season with former Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, his wife, Rebecca, and their three children, daughters Story and Noah, and son, Breaker.

"Just the setup I have here felt better," Dobson said. "Back home, it's still in the middle of the winter; there's still a few feet of snow. At home, I don't really have a gym set up where I'd be able to work out.

"Being here with Dennis, it's good. We've been working out together and shooting pucks together. It's nice to have a training buddy during this time. He's really good with that stuff too, so I'm able to learn some things from him as well. The setup I have here was more beneficial, just to continue working out and stuff, compared to back home."

When Dobson isn't working out, Seidenberg's children are keeping him busy with numerous activities.

"I've been playing lots with the kids," Dobson said. "They've been great. I've been doing lots outside on the trampoline, and Breaker plays hockey too, so I've been playing some road hockey and stuff like that.

"All three of the kids are great. They could have just easily not really welcomed me; it's different for them having an older guy come live in their house and stuff, but they've been really great with me. It's fun to get outside with them during this time and passing time. I can play around with them."

Video: Season Snapshot: New York Islanders

Dobson, the No. 12 pick at the 2018 NHL Draft, has been living with the Seidenbergs since the end of training camp in September following a recommendation from Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. Seidenberg, who has worked in the Islanders' player development department since retiring from the NHL as a player in October, said Dobson has been a welcomed addition to the household.

"He's been great all year," Seidenberg said. "Being home all the time, the kids are annoying him to play all day every day, all different kinds of sports. But he's been really good with the kids and around the house. It's a pleasure to have him."

Dobson has helped in other ways too during this pandemic. With Rebecca trying to keep her business, Off Seids Clothing, running during these trying times, Seidenberg has tried to help the children with their online schoolwork.

"He actually does jump in once in a while and tries to help them out once I lose my mind," Seidenberg said. "It's a different voice, and it actually works sometimes."

"I'm not a great student myself," Dobson said. "I've been leaving that one up to Dennis."  

Dobson is the second Islanders player to live with the Seidenbergs; center Mathew Barzal was in their basement during his rookie season (2017-18). Dobson, though, is on the third floor, which was occupied by a nanny when Barzal lived there.

Seidenberg noted one significant difference between the two.

"Noah is definitely a lot neater and cleaner around the house," Seidenberg said with a chuckle. "[Barzal] expects everything to be done for him."


[RELATED: Trotz discusses Islanders skid, expanding playoffs after NHL pause in Q&A]


Dobson was cleaning his game up too before the pause. A righthanded shot, Dobson was asked to play the left side after defenseman Adam Pelech sustained an Achilles injury Jan. 2 but shifted back to his natural position for three games when Johnny Boychuk's eyelid was cut by a skate blade March 3.

"I think there was a huge difference, just my comfort level and confidence, especially when I got back in for a few games before the [pause] after Johnny got hurt," said Dobson, who has seven points (one goal, six assists) in 34 games this season. "Playing on my normal side, I thought I felt really good out there. That was probably some of the best games I felt all year. I kind of knew something like that was going to happen throughout the year, I was going to become more confident and comfortable as the year goes on and the more games you play. But there's definitely been a big difference to my game from October compared to the last few games I played."

Islanders coach Barry Trotz agreed.

"He was playing a lot [before the pause] and he was getting stronger and understanding more and more," Trotz said. "I look at his game now, if we had to play and we had to win now, he's well into the conversation of if he's in the lineup or not, night in and night out. He's closed that gap on some of the veteran guys very, very quickly. That's really encouraging."

It's unknown when the season will resume, but Dobson said he's confident he'll continue to evolve.

"It's definitely been an unorthodox year for sure," Dobson said. "I think looking back at it in the summer once the season's over or whatever happens with our season, I'll be able to learn a lot of things from this year. The test that you can play on the left side and kind of learn how to see the game from that way, and then just overall the whole year and how you handle being out of the lineup a bit, you're watching the great older guys that I can learn lots from.

"I think it's definitely been an unorthodox year, but I think looking back at it and down the road, it's going to be beneficial. I'll be able to take a lot of things I learned this year into my future and hopefully make a great career out of it."

Seidenberg, who played 859 NHL games (2002-18), and won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011, said he believes Dobson is primed to have a long, successful career.

"As a defenseman, it always takes a little bit longer to mature," Seidenberg said. "It's a position where you carry a lot of responsibility all over the ice. It takes a lot, but you see he's got the skating ability, he's got the skillset and the vision on the ice to be really special down the line. He's got everything. I think everybody's excited to see what he can do in the next few years."

Tweet from @NYIslanders: Noah Dobson (@_ND53) checking in from the Seidenberg���s 🏡!

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