Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook proving his resilience
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org March 26, 2013 8:22PM
Updated: April 28, 2013 7:02AM
Neither defenseman Brent Seabrook nor coach Joel Quenne-
ville wants to talk about why Seabrook was benched for the first 12 minutes, 37 seconds of the second period March 18 in Colorado.
But they both seem pleased with what has happened since.
On his last shift before his extended sit-down, Seabrook had been burned by the Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog on a short-handed goal in the final minute of the first period. Seabrook’s response? On his second shift back on the ice, he scored a goal. He added an assist in the 5-2 victory.
“It was nice to come back and help the team out, put it in the net and whatnot,” Seabrook said.
After another subpar game Wednesday in Anaheim, Seabrook looked like his old self Monday against the Los Angeles Kings. He smashed Trevor Lewis into the boards early on, knocking off his helmet in the process — Corey Crawford scooped up the helmet and tucked it away safely in his net while play continued at the other end of the ice — and finished the game with five hits. He also made a pretty stretch pass from his own blue line that set up Patrick Kane’s second-period goal. He was plus-3 on the night and on the ice for all four Blackhawks goals (as well as the Kings’ short-handed one).
“I think Seabs was better last night,” Quenneville said before the game Tuesday against the Calgary Flames. “I think he got engaged physically. I think he made some nice passes offensively as well. The offensive part of his game is there. When he’s forceful defensively, I think he’s more efficient.”
Seabrook added a goal in the second period Tuesday.
Seabrook had a slow start to the season, with a minus-4 rating through nine games despite the Hawks going 7-0-2 in that span. But the veteran blue-liner has been more effective as the season has gone on; he has five goals and 10 assists and a plus-6 rating while maintaining his physical presence despite committing only three minor penalties.
He’s 15th in the league in blocked shots with 68 in 29 games — two behind team leader Niklas Hjalmarsson. The occasional lapses are bothersome, but Seabrook said he’s hoping to peak at the right time.
“I’m feeling all right about [my game],” he said. “There’s always things to improve on every night, every game throughout the season. I’m just trying to get my game to where I want it to be for the playoffs and get it as best I can for that.”
Seabrook also has been wearing an “A” on his sweater, taking injured Patrick Sharp’s job as an alternate captain.
“I’ve always been a talkative guy, and I feel like nothing’s changed with that,” he said. “I have a pretty good relationship with the refs, I feel like, so I’ve been able to talk to them and stuff like that. I think we respect each other. It’s never been a problem with asking them a question or whatnot. I guess I’m just keeping it warm for Sharpie.”