NHL Playoffs: Bruins Star Dennis Seidenberg Proves His Importance vs. Capitals

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IApril 27, 2012

SUNRISE, FL - JANUARY 16:  Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on January 16, 2012 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Many of the Boston Bruins' best players underperformed in their first-round series loss to the Washington Capitals, but one player who actually raised his game was defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.

Last year, Seidenberg and fellow blueliner Zdeno Chara were the best shut-down defense pairing in the NHL playoffs, and the German D-man didn't disappoint this season either.

"Dennis has been good for us in all the playoff series from the past, and, again, this one here," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien following Wednesday's Game 7 loss.

"As I said, he’s such a well-tuned athlete and in great shape, and you can’t tire him out. He plays big, he plays strong, and he loves those kinds of challenges. So, you know, it’s unfortunate, we probably needed more players like him."

Seidenberg is everything you want in a Bruins defenseman: He's physical, he is always in good position, he's in great shape and he gives up his body to make the necessary plays in the defensive zone.

In Game 7, Seidenberg made a phenomenal shot block on Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin to save what probably would have been the series-winning goal in the third period.

It was a great example of the sacrifices Seidenberg is willing to make to help the team.

"Well I had no stick. I mean, I saw Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] winding up for a shot and most of the times they are looking for the winger, I think it was [Alexander] Ovechkin, and see pass, and we are watching a lot of video and we know their tendencies and all you do is try to keep yourself in a shooting lane and try and block that shot and that’s what happened. I got lucky," said Seidenberg on his blocked shot late in the third period.

Seidenberg's performance was one of the few positives of the series for the Bruins. Defensively he was rock solid and did a fantastic job of containing Ovechkin through seven games.

Ovechkin had just two goals in the series and was often frustrated by Seidenberg's physical play and strength in one-on-one battles.

Seidenberg proved why he's one of the most important players on the Bruins throughout the Capitals series.

His strong defense and leadership are so valuable to the Bruins' ability to shut down the opposing team's best offensive players each night. He's also a crucial member of the penalty kill and can be effective on the power play.

There are plenty of Bruins players who need to look at themselves and wonder why they struggled in this series, but one player who can head into the summer with his head high is Seidenberg.

The German defenseman proved all season and especially in the playoffs that he's one of the Bruins' most valuable players.


All quotes obtained firsthand.

Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and has covered the team firsthand since the 2010-11 season. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.