BOSTON – Dennis Wideman’s time in Boston ended in bitter fashion, but he has no bitterness about his stay here.
His final season with the Bruins in 2009-10 began with struggles at both ends of the ice that quickly drew the ire of the Garden faithful. And even when his own play picked up late and he ended up leading the Bruins in playoff scoring with 12 points in 13 games that spring, that was overshadowed by the team's collapse against Philadelphia.
Wideman is back in Boston now, playing against the Bruins for Washington. The Capitals open the postseason Thursday night at the Garden with Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
Wideman expects to hear the boos and mocking chants from the Boston fans once again. “I would say they’ll probably get into it,” Wideman said with a wry smile after Thursday’s morning skate.
But Wideman also has no problem with his treatment from the home fans during his time in a Bruins uniform.
"Obviously I didn’t start off the year as I wanted to," Wideman said. "The first half was a struggle. I wasn’t playing well. I was getting frustrating. They’re knowledgeable hockey fans. I assumed they were not going to be happy with the way I was playing. They’re just being Boston fans. They don’t put up with that. That’s the way it is."
Wideman left Boston last summer in a trade with Florida that brought Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell to the Bruins, and has no issues with any part of his stay in Boston.
"I’ve got no regrets about my time here," said Wideman, who was acquired by Washington at the 2011 trade deadline and led all Capitals defensemen with 11-35-46 totals this season. "Obviously the last year, the beginning of the year didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, but I finished strong. I have no problems with the Bruins or the city of Boston."
Wideman doesn’t even begrudge the Bruins trading him away, recognizing that it was simply a business decision that doesn’t add any extra incentive when he’s facing his old team.
"I don’t know if it’s motivated [me] by trying to prove them wrong," Wideman said. "I look at my circumstances in getting traded from here. They had lots of D and they needed a scoring forward. I was the guy that went the other way. That’s the way I look at it. They lost [Phil] Kessel to Toronto so they needed a top-end scorer and Horton was the guy they were going after and I was the guy they could get rid of on defense. That’s just the way it works. I don’t sit there and say, ‘I can’t believe they traded me.’ That’s not how it is. That’s just the way it works."
There is one thing that Wideman regrets about his time in Boston though, and that was having to leave after that playoff loss to the Flyers. When asked if it was tough not being part of last year’s mission to atone for that collapse, Wideman admitted that was difficult.
"I mean, I didn’t really think about it that way. Thanks," Wideman joked. "Any time the way that season ended two years ago with Philly was tough, and it makes the summer long when you think about it. We had that big lead and the big lead in Game 7 and it didn’t turn out well. Obviously they learned from it and they didn’t let that happen again. For me that was a long summer, and to not be able to come back to try to rectify that was tough, but that’s the way the game works."
Wideman said he still keeps in touch with many of his ex-teammates in Boston, before adding, “Not now though. We’re not talking anymore." He was still rooting for the Bruins last year during their Cup run, though those feelings are a little different now that he’s going head-to-head with the reigning champs in the opening round.
"Yeah, I was," Wideman said. "Not this year."