Brent Seabrook misses Blackhawks’ game, listed as day-to-day
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 19, 2013 10:47PM
Chicago Blackhawks Nick Leddy (8) shoots past Vancouver Canucks Jannik Hansen (36) during the first period at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:47AM
Brent Seabrook doesn’t need to prove to anyone that he’s a tough guy. He’s second in the league in blocked shots, and in the last six seasons, he has played all 82 games three times, 81 games once and 78 games twice.
On top of that, he returned in the second period Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings after taking a puck to the groin in the first period.
So Seabrook’s absence Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks was as surprising as it was understandable. When asked by a reporter if Seabrook had taken the shot in the ribs, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville replied, “Uh, somewhere.”
Quenneville said Seabrook is “day-to-day.”
Seabrook’s rare missed game meant Duncan Keith lost his usual defense partner. Seabrook was replaced on the top pairing by Sheldon Brookbank. It was the first time since the season opener that the Hawks’ starting five wasn’t Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, Seabrook and Keith.
Quenneville had plenty of options for a replacement first-line blue-liner, but he didn’t want to break up his second pairing of Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Swedish duo was a combined plus-18 through 15 games.
Rivalry trumps record
The Canucks weren’t terribly concerned about the Hawks potentially tying the NHL record for longest point streak to open a season against them. When these teams meet, there’s no need for artificial enhancement.
“We’re more concerned just about how well they’re playing, as opposed to any kind of streak or record,” Canucks goalie Cory Schneider said. “They’ve obviously been the best team in the NHL so far.”
Oduya only has played the Canucks twice while with the Hawks, but it didn’t take long for him to grasp the significance of the rivalry.
“I haven’t been a part of this rivalry too long, but you feel it right away,” he said. “In [New] Jersey, you play the Rangers or Flyers and it’s the same thing, where right when you get on the ice you can feel it’s something different. It’s fun. It’s the type of games you want to play, [with] that playoff mentality.”
When they last met in Vancouver two weeks ago, it was a surprisingly quiet affair, especially considering it was the first meeting since Keith elbowed Daniel Sedin in the head, giving him a concussion. The Canucks won in a shootout, but there was very little physical play. Toews said that such a game was to be expected so early in the season and that, as each meeting passes, they “drag along some history” and the games get more and more intense.
For now, the Canucks showed nothing but respect for the Hawks and their hot start.
Coach Alain Vigneault called the Hawks “the benchmark across the league.” And Schneider said the United Center was as tough — and as exciting — a venue as there is in the NHL.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere,” he said. “Just the crowd, from the anthem on — there’s few buildings like it.”
Crawford back on ice
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford, who hasn’t played since a shootout loss Feb. 12 to the Anaheim Ducks and hasn’t practiced since last Thursday with what Quenneville has deemed an “upper-body” injury, skated on his own before the morning skate.
“He did well,” Quenneville said. “So we’ll get him on again [Wednesday], and hopefully he keeps progressing here.”
Carcillo nears return
Daniel Carcillo, who suffered a leg injury in the season opener, is officially ready to go for the Hawks. Now it’s just a matter of when he’ll return to the lineup. Quenneville said it will happen in the next three games.