With just under three minutes remaining in the first period of last night's 3-2 overtime victory against the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid scarily suffered a sprained neck after flying head-first into the end boards behind netminder Tim Thomas.
The 24-year-old -- who is averaging just under 13 minutes of post season ice time per game -- was sent to a nearby hospital, traveled back to Boston with his teammates, and now listed as day-to-day.
"He suffered a sprained neck," head coach Claude Julien said to the media after practice today. "Everything so far has come out negative, so far he’s a day-to-day player right now."
As far as fellow rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer goes, Julien said, "He started skating today, just for the first time. He’s still going to be a while."
Julein also stated that the options that he has for the final blueline slot will be made officially tomorow. However Shane Hnidy, who was signed just days before the February 28 NHL trade deadline this season, will most likely take No. 54's spot in the lineup tomorrow night.
Obviously this is pretty bad news considering the only playing time Hnidy has had this season was in three of the Bruins' final five regular season games; and Game 2 (nearly three-weeks ago) when the gritty 34-year-old vet logged 4:13 of ice time against the Montreal Canadiens.
However, when the B's are getting much better-than-expected-results from Dennis Seidenberg, the worrying should cease...at least for the time being.
Nine playoffs games in thus far with five points, Seidenberg offensive awareness -- especially this playoff series -- has been an added bonus for the B's.
Last night, No. 44 logged a game-high (and season high's) 36 minutes 26 second of ice time in (another season/game-high) 47 total shifts
He's averaging 28 minutes 33 seconds of ice time -- a five-minute increase from this past regular season.
"Well I would say he‘s a horse," Julien said of the 29-year-old blueliner this afternoon. "He’s strong and you look at the minutes, he’s been logging as well. He doesn’t get tired, he can take it. He’s a big strong individual, he competes well. And I think I’ve said that before, when we acquired him the one thing we knew about him was he was really a big game player and he’s proven that and even more so."
The team-leader in blocked shots (174) and with the second-most hits (161) during the regular season, No. 44 is in the same exact team-rankings thus far in the playoffs -- 27 blocked shots, 23 hits.
Seidenberg missed the last four 2009-10 NHL regular season games with the Bruins due to a lacerated forearm that he sustained in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 3, 2010. He underwent successful surgery to repair the tendonon April 6, but the recovery time was just too long...as Seidenberg could only sit and and watch his team and its depleted D from the sidelines.
This year, Seidenberg is clearly making up for lost time. He has elevated his game now when it really counts, and has been one of the, if not the best Bruins defenseman to this point in the playoffs. Whether he's pinching the puck in the offensive zone and creating plays, or clearing out the dirty traffic in front of his goalie's crease, the intangibles that Seidenberg has brought to Boston's backend in Rounds 1 & 2 have not gone unnoticed.
"When you look at he way he’s performed you can see how much we missed him last year in the playoffs and how better we would have been a team with him in it," added Julien. "He’s been good, like I said, he competes well and the bigger the game, the better he gets. And we hope that he keeps playing that way because he’s been -- as you said an unsung hero to many -- but certainly hasn’t eluded our view of him."