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Doing the Job: Dennis Seidenberg Right at Home in FLA ... Dmitry Kulikov Bored

Simpsons Dennis Seidenberg was a late arrival to the Panthers this season. He hasn’t been tardy since.

The Panthers signed the free agent defenseman a few days into training camp. Seidenberg missed the Nova Scotia part of the marathon preseason campaign, but joined the team in Ottawa and took in most of Florida’s world tour.


It looks like the Panthers would like to have Seidenberg around for all of training camp next season. For that to happen, however, Seidenberg would have to sign a new contract. His current one expires on July 1.


“Every time you sign a one-year deal, it’s in the back of your mind that you have to sign again next year,’’ he said Wednesday. “I like it here. Obviously everyone would like to win more, but I think we have the chance to do that. There’s a good future here.’’


Coach Pete DeBoer has had no problems putting Seidenberg in a number of different situations, and he’s filled in for the injured Dmitry Kulikov on the top power play unit alongside Bryan McCabe. Seidenberg’s offensive numbers aren’t overpowering (one goal, 16 assists), but he has been hot lately, getting three assists in the past four games.


Seidenberg’s biggest contribution has been his knack for blocking shots. Last year, he blocked 39 in the postseason as he helped Carolina reach the Eastern Conference finals. He came into Wednesday’s game leading the league with 129 blocks – 44 more than teammate Keith Ballard.


Last season, Karlis Skrastins led the Cats with 171 blocked shots before not being resigned. Seidenberg had 160 for the Hurricanes.


 
“We lost a lot of grittiness on defense and we wanted to replace some of that,’’ said DeBoer. “We lost some edge, and Seidenberg brings that every night. He blocks shots, finishes hits. He’s hard to play against. He came as advertised.’’


(*) Kulikov says he is antsy to get back on the ice after injuring his knee in December. Kulikov started practicing with his teammates on Tuesday after beginning his skating training last week. Kulikov could be back in the lineup next week.


“It’s a good feeling to be back practicing with the team,’’ Kulikov said. “Honestly, everyone looks really fast to me right now. I’ll be back in a bit. .-.-. It’s been a boring time for me. I don’t want to get injured again.’’


(*) Center Shawn Matthias was recalled from the minors Wednesday as a precaution in case Nathan Horton couldn’t go. Horton missed two days of practice with what the Panthers called “bumps and bruises.’’ Horton did play, with Matthias being a healthy scratch.


(*) Bryan McCabe was named the team’s defensive player for the month of December.


(*) Forward Nick Tarnasky left during the first period with a lower body injury.

(*) The Panthers are partnering with the American Red Cross to collect relief supplies to benefit those affected by Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. The team will be accepting non-perishable food, toiletries, bottled water, clothing and donations at Saturday's home game against Tampa Bay.

Fans can also drop off such items between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the team offices on the suite level of  BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise. For more information contact Darren Perry at 954-835-7715.

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