(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
On Wednesday morning, it was announced that Boston Bruins veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg would undergo a lumbar microdiscectomy on Thursday, September 24 to repair a lumbar spine disc herniation. Seidenberg is expected to be out for eight weeks assuming that all goes well.
This isn’t the first time that Seidenberg has experienced an injury that has sidelined him for a considerable time, though it was clear that he was eagerly waiting for camp. However, just before camp was to start it was announced that he was dealing with an off-season injury and would not be on ice at the beginning of camp with the others. As was discovered though, it turned out to be more serious than originally expected.
After the announcement, General Manager Don Sweeney met with media to answer questions on the situation.
“Well it’s definitely a setback first and foremost from Dennis’ standpoint. You know he’s worked hard. He came back from an ACL last year and has a setback,” Sweeney said. “It’s obviously an opportunity for the other guys we were evaluating anyway, amongst our D core, and we’ll go from there.”
Obviously management had high expectations for Seidenberg this season. Most people tend to forget how long it truly takes to fully recover from ACL surgery. Seidenberg is such a determined athlete that he was ahead of schedule, but despite his resolve and insane work ethic, the level of play that is necessary as a hockey player really does require the player to be in full health. So for Seidenberg, this season would have been that moment.
A teammate of Seidenberg’s who has recently experienced physical setbacks in consecutive years, is fellow defenseman Adam McQuaid.
“Yeah, him and I had a good chat. I’ve been through similar situations. I think every one with this game, a lot of guys, go through that and it is unfortunate, but it is what it is,” McQuaid shared. “At this point for him, he just has to focus on healing and getting better and then taking it step-by-step and when he comes back he’ll be better than ever. So you have to take as many positives as you can, when you’re dealt with situations like that and you just move forward.”
As Sweeney mentioned, because of the delay in Seidenberg being able to play, it opens at least a temporary position for perhaps one of the players currently showing his stuff in camp. And while players don’t like to see a teammate get hurt, they need to grasp such an opportunity.
For Torey Krug, it was injuries to Seidenberg and Andrew Ference in 2013 that saw his chance to show what he could do. And this current situation should be a learning experience for the younger players in camp.
“Well to realize that at any given moment that opportunity’s going to be there and you have to make sure that you got out and take advantage of it,” Krug said after practice.
It sounds insensitive, to be sure, but hockey is a business and it is unfortunate, but true, that many such opportunities for other players come at the injury of a current roster member.
“I thought I was going to be in Providence the rest of the [2012-13] season and go through a playoff run there with a very good team. And all of a sudden I got the call that I’m gonna be playing, you know, against the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs,” continued Krug. “Just like that it changes. So, I think for the young guys just realize to always be prepared and be willing to accept an opportunity but to not just take it, to absolutely go out there and earn it and to work through it and make sure you take advantage of it”
A hockey team is one of the most interesting interactive groups to study. In many ways they truly are a family, even during training camp with veterans offering help to the rookies. However, there is also extreme competition between these players as they vie for the limited open spots on the roster. For the time being in Boston, there is one more spot than originally expected.