Dennis Seidenberg admitted it’s going to be emotional and a little strange when he takes the ice on Tuesday night at TD Garden as a member of the visiting New York Islanders. Unlike current Isles teammate Johnny Boychuk, who was traded away from the Bruins for a couple of draft picks including one that turned into Brandon Carlo, the German D-man was bought out of his contract last summer by the Black and Gold.
It was a difficult ending for a good soldier in Seidenberg that was instrumental in their run to the Stanley Cup in 2011, and was a defensive warrior down to his very last game for the Bruins. It’s ended up working out organizationally for the Bruins, however, and individually for Seidenberg after signing a one-year deal with the Islanders following a great performance for Team Europe in the World Cup of Hockey.
Seidenberg’s exit opened the door for the Bruins to give a spot to the 20-year-old Carlo, and he’s turned into one of a number of impressive top pair D-man rookies around the NHL. Seidenberg has been rock-solid for the Isles with four goals and 10 points along with a plus-9 rating in 24 games for his new hockey club. The successful next chapter in New York has allowed Seidenberg to turn the page, and will probably lend a little more sweet than bitter during the inevitable jumbotron video tribute he’ll receive during the game tonight.
With that in mind, Seidenberg was excited about the game while also not losing sight of the task at hand for an Isles team that’s massively underperformed this season.
“It'll definitely be different coming in [to the Garden] being on the other side,” said Seidenberg to a gathering of Bruins and Isles reporters after morning skate at TD Garden. “But it's about us trying to do our best and get the two points.”
As one would expect with a classy, experienced veteran like Seidenberg, he was going to take the high road no matter what he might be feeling inside. That’s what made him an underrated, steady presence inside the B’s dressing room during the best years of the Bruins Cup window, and it’s what he’s brought to the table in Brooklyn this season on his modest one-year deal.
“He's tough to play against down low and for me it's about his leadership,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. “He's come in and done a great job.”
It’s exactly those qualities that have allowed Seidenberg to remain in the league for a solid, hard-working 4-year career, and it’s what distinguished him during his 401 games of service to the Bruins from 2009-2016. Thankfully Bruins fans will finally get to their chance to say “thank you” to another departed core piece from the last Cup team as he takes the Garden ice for the first time since abruptly leaving the Black and Gold last summer.