OTTAWA — It might feel like the good Ol' Boston days for Dennis Wideman this weekend, on a team captained by defenseman Zdeno Chara and coached by Claude Julien and his staff. If only Wideman's time with the Bruins didn't end on such a sour note.
Wideman spent parts of four seasons in Boston that he enjoyed, despite things going downhill late in the 2009-10 campaign before he was traded to the Florida Panthers.
"The other things in Boston didn't end great. I had a bad year or a couple bad months there. But that's part of the game; that's what we're doing," Wideman said Friday. "Boston fans, they're intense and they expect you to play a certain way. I wasn't at the time, and they let me know about it. That's what makes Boston great."
Wideman went from a star paired with Chara in 2008-09 to a minus-14 guy the next season. He might just get a chance to play alongside the big Bruins' captain again Sunday to rekindle some past glory in the NHL All-Star Game.
"I obviously don't know what the partners are going to be or whatever. I obviously enjoyed playing with 'Z' when I was there," Wideman said. "It'll be fun to get back out there with him."
Team Chara's other defensemen are Kimmo Timonen of the Philadelphia Flyers, Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators, Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers.
But Wideman's roster has a nice Boston feel with Chara, Julien (plus his staff) and first-time All-Star Tyler Seguin. The Washington Capitals' lone representative admitted to watching every game of the Bruins' Stanley Cup run and was thrilled to see his old mates win it all.
"I loved playing there. I loved the city. I still think about it — the area I was living in in North End and stuff like that," Wideman said. "It was great there: a great group of guys, a really close, tight-knit team. It was exciting. I was excited to see them win last year, and obviously I think Boston's a great place to play."
Julien said he got a chance to talk to Wideman on Thursday, along with ex-Bruins forward Phil Kessel, who was sent to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 2009 blockbuster trade. The Bruins got Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell as part of the deal that sent Wideman to Florida.
"Years go by and it's always nice to see those guys again," Julien said. "It just goes to show you that we had to make some moves in order to make our team as competitive as possible. We lost some good players, but we got some good players in return that helped us win a Cup."
Wideman doesn't have a Cup ring to show for his time in Boston, though. But he'll try to win one more game with Chara on Sunday.
"It should be fun. Playing with 'Z,' I was with 'Z' for a few years there and I learned a lot from him," Wideman said. "The way he approaches the game and his work ethic and stuff like that, it's hard not to have something like that rub off on you. I think it would be good to get back out there and play with him."
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