Could Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg return before next season? Three of the organization’s most important decision-makers aren’t necessarily ruling out.
Bruins president Cam Neely, general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Claude Julien have been asked if there’s a chance Seidenberg could return at some point during the playoffs, and while they aren’t optimistic, they haven’t gone out of their way to say no.
It started Thursday with Neely, who was asked about the potential of Seidenberg — who tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee against Ottawa in December — returning to game action if the Bruins make a deep playoff run.
“It’s really unfair to start speculating that,” Neely said during his weekly radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “It’s unfair to the player. I’m just going off of experience. You wanna play and you wanna get out and play, but really, certain injuries certainly take a certain amount of time to heal and everyone has an idea of that time. But it’s really unfair to an athlete to start questioning or asking, ‘Can they get back to play?’ Time will certainly be able to answer that question.
“It’s hard to put it out there because it’s really unfair to the athlete because then they think, ‘Maybe I can come back early,’ and that may not be helpful.”
Chiarelli told The Boston Globe on Friday: “I’m not counting on this. He’s ahead of schedule. I don’t, like, say, ‘Hey, if we’re in the Finals and we’re in Game 4,’ but that’s the type of scenario. He’s ahead of schedule and you can’t rule anything out, but I’m not counting on it.”
Julien likened the situation to what the Bruins went through with forward Patrice Bergeron during the 2007-08 season. Bergeron suffered a concussion in October, and while a return was believed to be possible, Bergeron didn’t come back until the next season.
“I think when the time comes, he’ll be evaluated,” Julien told reporters Friday after the Bruins’ morning skate in Denver, via The Globe. “The surgery was a pretty serious one, and we have to make a real good decision there.”
Seidenberg is making good progress in rehab and hasn’t had any setbacks, Neely said Thursday, and the veteran defenseman has remained around the team for almost the entire process. Still, Seidenberg must clear some hurdles before any sort of a return becomes a serious point of discussion.
“If you see him back, it’s because everybody feels pretty comfortable about it,” Julien said. “Medically, the doctors really feel strongly that it heals. So right now, it’s not even something we’re entertaining right now at this stage.
“He’s such an elite athlete that trains hard, so he might be ahead of schedule a little bit, but is he ahead of the schedule that was put in front of him? I’m not sure about that.”
A lot must happen for Seidenberg to return, including a deep Bruins run, which makes seeing him on the ice again this season a long shot. But it’s somewhat telling that it’s not being ruled out.