Former Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg hasn’t played an NHL game since April 7, 2018, and this past Monday, ‘The German Hammer’, who spent the last three seasons with the New York Islanders, officially retired from the National Hockey League. Speaking to Boston Hockey Now Wednesday, Seidenberg reflected on his time when he patrolled the Bruins blue line with future hall of famer and current Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, became a feared shutdown defenseman and won the 2011 Stanley Cup.
“Definitely my time in Boston, with the success we had there,” Seidenberg said without hesitation when asked what stands out the most about his 859 games and 15 seasons in the NHL. “The hockey part and with my family too. Our two little kids were born in Boston, we met so many friends there and that’s where we became a family really. It feels like home every time we visit. So there’s always going to be a bind there and when I think about my career, that’s what will catch my mind first.”
Seidenberg’s best season statistically and in terms of memories in the NHL, came in 2010-11 when he had 25 assists and 32 points in 81 games and then had ten more helpers and a goal in 25 games helping the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 39 seasons.
“You start talking about that run and you step back and you’re like ‘Wow! I did that?’ and it’s pretty amazing to think about,” Seidenberg said of his part in that magical Cup run for the Bruins. “That’s really where I came into my own and reached my potential. I didn’t realize until I had the chance to reflect in the last year, how big Boston was for me as a player and what a great time I had.”
That Cup run saw Seidenberg become one of the best shutdown defensemen in the game and averaged an astonishing 27:38 per game.
“That was amazing,” Seidenberg said. “I always took pride in playing a lot of minutes and playing hard minutes. Especially those playoffs where I averaged around 27 minutes per game. I mean I don’t really look at my stats but this was a highlight for sure and I was like ‘That’s pretty cool!’. I never really looked at it from afar and when I was removed from the game and did, that is really something I’m so proud of. It’s so nice to look back and look at what ‘Zee’ and I had going there and it just shows when a coach has confidence in you and you and your teammates trust and have confidence in each other, it shows how far you can go and do anything.”
Seidenberg credited Claude Julien as the coach that helped him realize his potential on the ice.
“I played for him for almost seven years and I got nothing but great things to say about him,” Seidenberg said of Julien. “He pushed me hard and had trust in me for all those years and that helped me become the player I became. It was just a pleasure to play for him for all those years and learn from a coach with that much experience.”
As for former teammates that influenced him? Seidenberg immediately pointed to Chara.
“Zee obviously because I was paired with him,” Seidenberg said. “His work ethic, leadership and just his attitude toward every day practices made me a better player. It made me more determined just being beside him every day and just seeing how prepared he was.”
Thankfully for Seidenberg though, he was surrounded by plenty of hard-working leaders during his time in Boston and a leadership core that helped them hoist that Cup in 2011. Forwards Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and former Bruin and current Bruins Development Coordinator Chris Kelly.
“Bergy and the way he played, just how reliable he is, game in and game out,” Seidenberg said. “And ‘Krech’ same thing and ‘Marchy’ too. Just his attitude and the way he backs it up. All those guys were great. Chris Kelly. …the core of that team, it was just amazing! You look back now and we weren’t just teammates we were and still are good friends. We always had each other’s backs and we always will.”
Seidenberg will remain in the Islanders organization in a player development capacity, for now, helping injured players condition and get back to playing. He made it clear though, that he will always be a Bruin and treasure what he considers the best time of a long career.
“No doubt, that was the best time of my career and I’m always a Bruin in my heart.”