Wideman Remains on B's Blueline
Thursday, 07.24.2008 / 2:46 PM ET / Features
By Hannah Goldman - Intern | BostonBruins.com
|Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin, left, of Russia, turns the puck over to Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman (6). (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)|
Wideman was up for restricted free agency, but the B’s wanted to keep the defenseman in the Hub and made sure it would happen.
The d-man opened his portion of Wednesday evening’s teleconference with the Boston media yesterday by offering thanks to a lot of people.
“I wanted to start off by thanking Peter (Chiarelli), thanking the Jacobs family and Boston,” he said. “I’m really excited.”
Dennis is excited to remain in Black & Gold this season, but, after several years of short-term deals, he is also pleased that he has the opportunity to stay in Boston for the next several seasons.
“To get a contract of that length makes me feel really good,” continued Wideman. “It makes me want to be a part of this organization for a long time moving forward.”
This is a repeated sentiment among those that have secured their future with Boston this summer. Chuck Kobasew, Aaron Ward, Mark Stuart, Michael Ryder and Dennis Wideman have all said the same thing: they are all happy to be with an organization that has a bright future.
Wideman summed it up squarely, “As a team this year, we took a lot of great strides, made the playoffs, and had a great run. I’m looking forward to being a part of going a lot further.”
The young defenseman also looks forward to the coming season as an individual, and hopes to make improvements to his own skill set.
“I think I’ve made a lot of strides in my game in the past couple of years,” he said. “And I also think I’ve made strides (thanks to) the coaching staff and the organization here.
“Hopefully that’s not the end (because) every year you’re trying to get better and you’re trying to learn more.
“I’m happy with how far I’ve come, but I’m not satisfied. I want to get a lot better and help this team get a lot better,” he said.
Wideman talked about his injured groin, which plagued him at the end of this past season,
“I haven’t had any problems with it,” Wideman confirmed. “I feel good and I’m looking forward to start (training camp).”
The Bruins are looking forward to it, too.
“(Wideman) can put in minutes, he can compete, he can put up points, and he can be effective on the power play,” said GM Peter Chiarelli. “But most importantly, by far, is the fact that he is able to spot the first pass (out of the zone), make that pass and contribute to the flow…going the other way.”
Going forward, the B’s rapidly improving d-unit remains intact, and Wideman is a big part of it.
“I like our defensive unit,” said Chiarelli. “We’ve got…some size/strength guys and we’ve got a complement of puck movers.
“What’s most important is that this group is able to progress under our coaching staff, and I saw it progress under our coaching staff.
“We’re happy with the players we have,” he said, “and I would continue to expect them to grow and improve.”