Brent Seabrook appeared to injure his leg Sunday. | Getty Images
Updated: December 16, 2011 8:22AM
The play was exactly what has made the Blackhawks successful lately.
Defenseman Brent Seabrook carried the puck deep into the Edmonton Oilers’ zone, and it looked like another scoring chance courtesy of the Hawks’ blue line.
But Seabrook fell and went legs-first into the boards. It didn’t sound or look good at all, and the Hawks are already without center Dave Bolland, who is recovering from a foot injury.
“Obviously, there’s a void with all the quality ice time [Seabrook plays] in all situations,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He absorbs those types of minutes. You appreciate what he provides you.”
Seabrook, one of the Hawks’ toughest players, skated gingerly back to the bench without putting much weight on his left leg and didn’t return. He was re-evaluated Monday, but the Hawks didn’t meet the media.
There is some good news, though. Seabrook left the United Center on Sunday without the aid of crutches and without a noticeable limp. He also traveled with the team Monday to Vancouver, where it begins the annual circus trip against the rival Canucks on Wednesday.
Losing Duncan Keith for three games with a finger injury hurt the Hawks, and losing Seabrook will, too. But the entire defense is playing better. In the last three games, a blue line consisting of Keith, Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Steve Montador, Niklas Hjalmarsson and John Scott has combined for 16 points and a plus-15 rating.
Keith and Leddy carried the load against the Oilers with Seabrook out. Leddy, 20, played a career-high 27:20 and had one of his best games. Keith, who is plus-6 in the last three games, took Seabrook’s spot on the top power-play unit. Montador also has proved to be an offensive threat.
“You just want to shorten up your shifts as a defense corps,” Montator said of playing without Seabrook. “It’s talking a little bit more and keeping the puck simple. You don’t have to be the first man leading the rush. You just want to get it out, follow it up and be supportive and do what you can.”
The Hawks will turn to either Sean O’Donnell or Sami Lepisto if Seabrook can’t play. Seabrook had just started hitting his stride with a goal, two assists and a plus-4 rating in the last three games.
“All of a sudden, everybody is coming in with more responsibility in all greater situations,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did a good job without him for half the game [Sunday]. At the same time, it presents a challenge.”