Chicago Blackhawks: Brent Seabrook

Blackhawks' 20-game season review

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
Powers By Scott Powers
Corey CrawfordJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesCorey Crawford has played some of the best hockey of his career through the first 20 games.

The Chicago Blackhawks are almost a quarter of the way through the season after playing 20 games. Here are 15 things we have learned about them so far:

1. The Blackhawks don’t have an amazing record at 12-7-1, but it’s not bad considering their early scoring troubles and they are still right there among the Central Division leaders. They’re in third place in the Central behind the Nashville Predators (13-5-2, 28 points) and St. Louis Blues (13-6-1, 27 points). The Blackhawks are trending upward. They’re on their first three-game winning streak of the season and have won five of their last six games. One area they have already corrected from last season is their overtime/shootout record. They were 3-8 last year and are 4-1 this season.

2. The Blackhawks can still fill the net. They went through an unlucky stretch early in the season, when they were leading the league in shots but didn’t have the results to show for it. That’s changed in the last few weeks. Their shooting percentage is getting back to normal. They have scored 32 goals over the last eight games. They still lead the league in shots (36.7 per game) and their scoring average is up to 2.95, which is tied for seventh. Their shooting percentage is still a few percentage points below their average the last few years, so expect the goals average to increase some more over time. The Blackhawks were third in shots-per game (33.1) and second in goals-per-game (3.18) last season.

3. Corey Crawford is playing at an elite level. He has a 1.90 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 14 games. He ranks fifth in the league in save percentage. His start to the season is comparable to what he did in the shortened 2012-13 season, when he was consistent throughout the season and finished ranked sixth in the league in save percentage. It’s the only time he’s finished in the top 10 in save percentage. He has held opponents to two goals or less in 10 of his 14 games this season. He’s especially improved against the power play. He had a .864 power-play save percentage last season and it’s currently at .905.

(Read full post)

Quenneville sends message to Seabrook

November, 10, 2014
Nov 10
Powers By Scott Powers
Brent SeabrookDennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY SportsBrent Seabrook played well on the third line Sunday night, recording a goal.

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook already knew his mistake of pinching in too far against the Washington Capitals last week cost his team a goal and was unacceptable.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville let Seabrook know he felt the same by demoting him to the third defenseman pairing and playing him a season-low 17:13 against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

“There are different ways to get guys’ attention,” Quenneville said after practice on Monday. “Everyone wants to play well and we want everyone to play well and we want to get the best out of everybody on a game-by-game basis.

“Sometimes you got to do things. You got to make tough decisions. You got to try whether it’s motivation, get their attention, whether it’s get more focus out of a guy, get him playing with more confidence. Whether it’s who’s your partner, quality ice time, there are different ways. But at the end of the day, we want everybody to be consistent and predictable, particularly defensemen.”

Seabrook said Monday he wasn’t surprised Quenneville switched up the defenseman pairings and separated him and Duncan Keith. Seabrook said Quenneville was the one to ask whether a message was being sent, but Seabrook admitted he wasn’t happy with his own play.

“You’re disappointed when you make plays like that,” Seabrook said. “I think I’ve been playing well. Some mistakes in my game, that’s obviously tough. I want to shore those up, but that’s that.

“Like I said the other day, I can’t make those mistakes. I’ve moved on.”

Quenneville liked how Seabrook responded to the change on Sunday. Seabrook scored a goal and was a plus-1 against the Sharks. He was a minus-4 Corsi in 5-on-5 situations.

“Thought he had a real good game last night,” Quenneville said. “He played very well in all aspects.”

Quenneville’s demotion may be short-lived. Quenneville said he could reunite Seabrook and Keith against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Keith and Seabrook played alongside each other throughout practice on Monday.

Seabrook has three goals and four assists and is a plus-1 in 15 games this season. He is averaging 21:40 of ice time, which is the third highest on the team.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 5, Sharks 2

November, 9, 2014
Nov 9
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday at the United Center:
How it happened: The Blackhawks put themselves in a comfortable position by scoring the game’s first three goals. Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk tallied his first career NHL goal. That was followed by goals by defensemen Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson, which put the Blackhawks up 3-0 in the first period. Sharks forward Joe Pavelski trimmed that lead to one by scoring at the net in the first period and on a power play in the second period. The Sharks were pushing for the game-tying goal until Bryan Bickell scored with 4:42 remaining in the game to put the Hawks ahead 4-2. Jonathan Toews added an empty-net goal for the Blackhawks. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi made 32 saves on 36 shots. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 32 of 34 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks snapped a three-game home losing streak. The Blackhawks looked like they were traveling down the same path as their latest game. They built a 2-0 lead on the Washington Capitals on Friday and lost 3-2 at home. The Blackhawks prevented that Sunday. They especially stepped up in the third period. The Blackhawks were due for the four even-strength goals they scored. They came into the game with a 5.0 shooting percentage in 5-on-5 situations. The Blackhawks improved to 8-6-1 on the season. The Sharks, who were coming off a win Saturday over the Dallas Stars, dropped to 8-6-2. Crawford held an opponent to two goals or fewer for the seventh time this season.

Player of the game: Van Riemsdyk scored his first career NHL goal and was also promoted to the Blackhawks’ top pairing with Duncan Keith.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks scored three goals within a 2:34 stretch of the first period.

What’s next: The Blackhawks continue their three-game home stand with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 2, Senators 1

October, 26, 2014
Oct 26
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday at the United Center:

How it happened: The Blackhawks put an end to their season-long second-period woes on their way to victory Sunday. The Blackhawks hadn’t scored a second-period goal in their first seven games. They scored two of them against the Senators. Jonathan Toews provided the first with a wraparound goal in a four-on-four situation 21 seconds into the second period. Brent Seabrook gave the Blackhawks a second when he scored on a power play at 13:38. Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling did the rest in his NHL debut: He stopped 32 of 33 shots. The Senators' lone goal came on a freak play on which the linesman interfered with a Blackhawks pass and led to a short-handed goal by Milan Michalek in the second period. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson stopped 43 of 45 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 5-2-1 on the season. The Blackhawks' five-on-five play again wasn't great, but they got the job done in other areas. The Blackhawks have scored a power-play goal in six of their eight games. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane recorded his 500th career point with an assist on Seabrook's goal. The Blackhawks killed all three of the Senators' power plays.

Player of the game: Darling, who is from the Chicago area, had a game to remember in his debut. He came up especially big with the Senators pushing for a goal to even the game in the third period. He made 16 saves in the third period.

Stat of the game: Fourteen penalties were called in the game.

What's next: The Blackhawks remain home and face the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Hawks storylines (No. 15): Numbers game

September, 11, 2014
Sep 11
Powers By Scott Powers
Archive's Scott Powers counts down the days to the opening of Blackhawks training camp on Sept. 19 with a look at 20 storylines facing the team this season.

Here are some numbers to keep in mind as the season unfolds for the Blackhawks (all statistics were found on or

Kane's production with teammates

Nearly every center who found his way onto the Blackhawks roster last season got a chance to skate with Patrick Kane. Some had more success than others. Andrew Shaw clicked with Kane, and Kane had seven goals, seven assists and a 59.7 Corsi percentage during 197:05 of 5-on-5 ice time with Shaw. On the other hand, Kane struggled with Michal Handzus with one goal, seven assists and a 50.9 Corsi percentage while on the ice 310:16 with the veteran center. Kane's line to start this season is expected to include Brandon Saad and Brad Richards. Kane had seven goals, nine assists and a 56.3 Corsi percentage with Saad.

Puck possession

The Blackhawks have been a dominant puck-possession team over the past five seasons. They have ranked in the league's top-6 in Corsi percentage in 5-on-5 situations throughout that span. They were second with a 55.5 percentage last season, their highest percentage since being at 56.5 percent during the 2009-10 season.

Morin's potential

Jeremy Morin played in just 24 games last season, so his sample size isn't that large. But in that short span, he was statistically impressive. Morin led the Blackhawks with an average of 12.22 shots per 60 minutes, 1.421 goals per 60 minutes and 3.13 points per 60 minutes. If Morin gets some consistent ice time and a larger role this season, which is something Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville have mentioned, he may just be headed toward a breakout offensive season.

Defensive responsibility

One of the main reasons defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are often able to utilize their offensive abilities is because defensemen Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson are given more of the defensive load. Oduya and Hjalmarsson started less in the offensive zone than any of the Blackhawks' defensemen last year. Oduya started 48.6 percent in the offensive zone and Hjalmarsson was at 48.3 percent. To compare, Keith started 56.4 percent in the offensive zone and Seabrook was at 56.3, and defensemen Nick Leddy, Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank all started more than 60 percent of the time in the offensive zone.

Goals against

The Blackhawks held opponents to just 1.77 goals per 60 minutes in 5-on-5 situations during the 2013 season, best in the league. But aside from that season the Blackhawks have been an average defense team in recent years. They ranked 26th in the NHL with a 2.52 goals-against average in 2010-11 season, 26th with a 2.49 goals-against average in the 2011-12 season and were 15th with a 2.23 goals-against average last season.

Toews & Sharp

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp made each other better players last season. They had a 59.7 Corsi percentage in their 777.32 of ice time together. When apart, Toews dropped to a 57.5 Corsi percentage and Sharp dropped to 52.9. There's a good chance Sharp, Toews and Marian Hossa could be together on the top line again this season.

Fourth-line usage

Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith, the trio which was often the Blackhawks' fourth line last season, all ranked among the bottom seven players in the league in offensive zone start percentage. Bollig started in the offensive zone 11.4 percent, Kruger 13.4 percent and Smith 16.9. It will be interesting to see whether Quenneville uses his fourth line in such a defensive manner again. Kruger was on the fourth line the season before and saw more offensive zone starts. He was at 30.4 percent during the 2013 season.

Hawks player reviews: Brent Seabrook

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
Powers By Scott Powers
Brent SeabrookAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBrent Seabrook had 41 points during the regular season, the second-most in his career.

Brent Seabrook, Defenseman

2013-14 cap hit: $5,800,000| Age: 29 | Season stats: 7 goals, 34 assists, plus-23

Season recap: Seabrook went through some ups and downs like most of the Blackhawks' defensemen this season. He had some good months early, but his play didn't remain at that level and was inconsistent in the playoffs. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville broke up Seabrook and Duncan Keith as a defensive pairing in the Western Conference finals.

Season highlight: Seabrook played some of his better hockey early in the season. He had 21 points and was a plus-20 in November and December.

Season lowlight: Seabrook was suspended three games for a hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Backes during the first round.

Final grade: B.

Inside the numbers: Seabrook was on the ice for 15 goals for and 15 goals against in 5-on-5 situations in the playoffs, according to He ranked fourth on the team in goals for and third in goals against.

Notes: Seabrook's 41 regular-season points were the second most of his career. He had 48 points during the 2010-11 season.

Quotes: "I think it was a good year, all in all," Seabrook said after the season. "I think it's obviously not where we want to be today. We think we had a chance to win again, and we were right there. So I don't think as far as changes go, I don't think we need many. I think the guys have that taste in their mouth, that they want to get back to where we were last year, and I'm assuming everyone's going to go home and have a good summer and get refreshed and refocused for another long year next year. That's our goal every year, is to be there at the end. It starts now."

What's next: Seabrook continues to be in the Blackhawks' long-term plans. He has three more years remaining on his contract. He and Keith are expected to be paired again next season.

Hawks' defense part of reason for deficit

May, 27, 2014
May 27
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Blackhawks defensemen Michal Rozsival and Nick Leddy were caught watching as the Los Angeles KingsTanner Pearson jumped on a loose puck and fed Tyler Toffoli in the slot for a crucial goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

Toffoli skated past Blackhawks defensemen Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson for a loose puck in Chicago's zone and scored to break a 2-2 tie in Game 3.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had the puck taken away from him by Kings forward Anze Kopitar, and defenseman Brent Seabrook was slow to get to the net to stop Marian Gaborik from scoring the second goal in Game 4.

While Chicago's penalty kill has been accountable for five goals in the past three games, that hasn’t been the Blackhawks’ only issue in their three consecutive losses, which have put them behind 3-1 in series. They also have had a few breakdowns they’re not accustomed to seeing from their defensemen.

“We’ve let in some uncharacteristic type of goals in this series that we probably haven’t seen all year or in the playoffs, for sure, that we think are preventable,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday. “We shore that up, and we’ll keep ourselves in the game and find a way.”

The Blackhawks allowed eight even-strength goals over the past three games. They had given up 21 even-strength goals over the first 13 playoff games. In the series, Oduya has been on the ice for six even-strength goals, Seabrook for four, Hjalmarsson for three, Rozsival for three, Leddy for two and Keith for one.

Not all of those goals were the defensemen's fault, but Seabrook said there’s definitely room for improvement on the back end.

“Absolutely, I think, like I said, I’ve got to be better,” Seabrook said Tuesday. “It doesn’t just start with the penalty kill. It’s in every facet of the game. I think we’ve all got to be out there doing things that are going to make us win a game, and I think some things happened last game that are uncharacteristic, but I’d say you’ve got to give L.A. credit. They’re forcing us into different situations, but we’ve got to be better and we will be better.”

Oduya and Hjalmarsson have had the best Corsi numbers (shot differential) among the defensemen despite starting in the defensive zone more than the others, according to Oduya has a 57.0 Corsi percentage (the Blackhawks have 61 shots for and 46 against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations in the series). He’s followed by Hjalmarsson (55.3 percent), Rozsival (50.5), Seabrook (50.0), Leddy (48.5) and Keith (47.8). Leddy and Rozsival start the most in the offensive zone.

Quenneville thought what it came down to was his defensemen needing to play better around their own net.

“I think where pucks going through us or not recognizing the coverage that’s around the net,” Quenneville said. “They got some guys that they make some blind plays. Around the net, they got quick sticks, and they got some good shooters as well. I think we got to make sure we’re going to be defending around our net better than they are at their net. It could be the difference.”

Kings get wish, hold Hawks under 3 goals

May, 21, 2014
May 21
Powers By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter set a limit of two goals for the Chicago Blackhawks entering the Western Conference finals.

If the Kings could keep the Blackhawks under three scores in a given game, Sutter liked his team’s chances against the defending Stanley Cup champs. More than two, he didn’t like the Kings’ odds.

Sutter has been dead on so far. The Blackhawks scored three goals in Game 1 and won. The Blackhawks scored two goals in Game 2 and lost 6-2 Wednesday night.

“We probably played better [in Game 1],” Sutter said. “The only difference between tonight and [Sunday] was not goals for, it was goals against. Give up three against them, you're in trouble.”

[+] EnlargeNick Leddy and Blackhawks
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesThe Blackhawks were stoked after dominating early. But they failed on several strong chances to extend a two-goal lead to three, and the Kings pounced after that.
The absence of that third goal Wednesday will have the Blackhawks shaking their heads for a few days. The chances were there for the third goal to put the Kings away.

The Blackhawks placed themselves in a comfortable position by going ahead 2-0, when Ben Smith scored 1:40 into the second period. But they didn’t back off. They kept pushing for another goal, and the Kings weren’t putting up much of a fight to stop them.

After their second goal, Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa nearly scored on a shot from the slot after receiving a stretch pass to get him open with 13:23 remaining in the second period.

Michal Handzus had a wraparound backhanded shot with 6:19 left that gave Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick a problem.

Off an odd-man rush shortly later, Hossa left the puck for Duncan Keith at the blue line, and Keith fired a shot that Quick blocked. But the Kings were fortunate the Blackhawks couldn’t capitalize on the rebound.

Of all the missed opportunities, the one that will bother the Blackhawks the most was a 2-on-1 rush. Kris Versteeg had the puck on the left wing, and Brent Seabrook was to his right. After Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell committed to Versteeg, he pushed the puck over to Seabrook, who fired it on net. Quick shifted quickly from left to right, filled the open space and denied the puck entry.

Quick kept the Kings in it, and they took advantage, as Justin Williams scored with less than two minutes remaining in the second period to cut the lead to one. From there, the game changed.

“That's what we need Quickie to do. He does it all the time, makes those big saves when we need him, and that's just a prime example of him being himself,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “That's a huge save for us, and from that point we got pucks to the net, put one in, and came in here down only 2-1, which is what we wanted.”

The Kings scored five more goals, all in the third period, and the Blackhawks didn’t score again.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought the Kings’ one goal in the second period may have been more deadly than the lack of a third Blackhawks goal.

Quenneville described his team’s first 38 minutes of the game as perfect.

“Couple real nice looks there,” Quenneville said. “[Seabrook] coming down the pipe and it’s still 2-0 and we’re fine at 2-0. You get in after two [periods] and you’re up 2-0, it’s a different game maybe, but certainly it didn’t look ... The way it turned on a dime like that, I don’t know if we’ve seen a game like that all year, where we’re doing everything right and then all of a sudden it was a disaster.”

The Blackhawks struggled to comprehend how a game they were dominating for nearly all of the first 40 minutes went against them. It's something they'll look to fix in Game 3 on Saturday.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. “We got off to a good start through 40 minutes. We were skating well and drew a few penalties, and then obviously things unraveled during the third.

“We’re not happy and we’re looking forward to getting on the plane and making up for it in Game 3.”

By the numbers: Hawks vs. Wild, Game 1

May, 3, 2014
May 3
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Here’s a look by the numbers at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their Western Conference second-round series:

" The Blackhawks scored two power-play goals. It was just the third time they scored multiple power-play goals in a game since Jan. 1. They scored a total of three power-play goals in six games against the St. Louis Blues in the first round.

" The Blackhawks killed off all three of the Wild’s power plays. The Blackhawks have been perfect on the penalty kill in five of seven playoff games this season. They’re 30-of-32 on the penalty kill in the playoffs overall.

" The Blackhawks and Wild were nearly even in shots with the game tied or within a goal. The Wild had a slight advantage in those situations as they had a 51 Corsi close percentage (shot differential with the game tied or within a goal in 5-on-5 situations.) The Wild had 25 shots, and the Blackhawks had 24. Corsi close is used to eliminate score effects.

" Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell each scored two goals. They have combined for 27 goals in 30 playoff games the past two seasons.

" Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 30-of-32 shots for a .938 save percentage. Since allowing four goals on 31 shots to the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round series, he has made 156 saves on 164 shots for a .951 save percentage in the last five games. The Blackhawks have won all five of those games.

" Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 21 shots. He has stopped 55-of-67 shots for a .821 save percentage in the playoffs.

" The Wild had 12 players who had a Corsi percentage (shot differential) of better than 50 percent. The Blackhawks had six. Jonas Brodin led the Wild with a 73.7 Corsi percentage (the Wild had 14 shots for and five against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations).

" The Blackhawks’ fourth line had the team’s lowest Corsi percentage. Forwards Brandon Bollig, Michal Handzus and Joakim Nordstrom had an average 22.6 Corsi percentages (the Blackhawks had 4.3 shots for and 14.7 against with them on the ice).

" Bollig averaged nearly a hit a minute. He had seven hits and played 8:00 of ice time.

" Wild forward Zach Parise had a game-high six shots on goal. Kane led the Blackhawks with five shots on goal.

" Kane had a plus-2 rating. He leads the NHL with a plus-8 rating in the playoffs.

" Brent Seabrook picked up two more assists. He is tied for a team-leading eight points despite having missed three playoff games due to suspension.

" Wild defenseman Ryan Suter had a game-high 25:22 of ice time. Duncan Keith led the Blackhawks with 24:12 of ice time.

" Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews won 16 of 24 faceoffs. He’s won 99 of 160 faceoffs for a 61.9 percentage in the playoffs.

By the numbers: Blues-Blackhawks, Game 6

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Here's a look by the numbers at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their first-round series:

• Game 6 marked the first time in the series the teams weren't within a goal of each other in the last two minutes of regulation. Four of the five games went to overtime, and the other was only a two-goal game because of a late empty-net goal.

• The Blues were 0-for-6 on the power play. They finished the series 2-for-29. They had 52:37 of power-play time. The Blackhawks had a 93.1 penalty-kill percentage.

• The Blackhawks were called for five minor penalties and finished the series with 29 minors, one major, one misconduct and one game misconduct.

• Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal when he broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period. He had three-game winning goals in the series and tied Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for a series-high seven points.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 35-of-36 shots. He made 201 saves on 215 shots for a .935 save percentage in the series. He allowed six goals over the final four games.

• Toews won 16-of-29 faceoffs and 91-of-160 for a 61.9 percentage in the series.

• The Blackhawks scored the game's first goal. The team which scored the first game won every game in the series.

• The Blues had 66 total shot attempts, including 36 on net, to the Blackhawks' 45 total shots, including 27 on net. The Blues had 215 shots on net to the Blackhawks' 186 in the series.

• Blues goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 22-of-27 shots. He made 166 saves on 185 shots for a .897 save percentage in the series.

• The Blackhawks won 35-of-69 faceoffs and finished with 237 wins to the Blues' 208 in the series.

• Blues forward Patrik Berglund had a minus-3 rating. He had a series-worst minus-7 rating.

• Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had a plus-1 rating and finished with a series-best plus-6 rating.

• The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-20 in the series.

• Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell had a team-high four hits and leads the NHL with 35.

• The Blues had 12 players with a Corsi percentage (shot differential) of better than 50 percent, according to The Blackhawks had eight players.

• The Blackhawks and Blues were nearly even in shot attempts with the game tied or within a goal during the series. The Blackhawks had 235 shot attempts to the Blues' 234, according to

• Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo played a game-high 26:26 of ice time. Keith played a team-high 25:16. Pietrangelo leads the NHL with 181:29 of playoff ice time. Keith is second with 179:09.

• Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson played 5:31 of shorthanded ice time, and Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus played 6:39. Hjalmarsson leads the league with 31:40 of shorthanded ice time in the playoffs. Handzus is second with 30:26.

• The Blues outhit the Blackhawks 43-22. The Blues had 248 hits to the Blackhawks' 143 for the series.

• Hjalmarsson had two blocked shots. He leads the NHL with 26 blocked shots in the playoffs.

Brent Seabrook grateful to play again

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks’ season could have ended while defenseman Brent Seabrook was serving a three-game suspension.

Seabrook needed the Blackhawks to win twice in three games against the St. Louis Blues to give him a chance to play again this season. The Blackhawks did better than that. They won three times.

[+] EnlargeBrent Seabrook
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Brent Seabrook needed Chicago to win twice in three games against the Blues to give him a chance to play again this season after his Game 2 suspension. They did him one better by winning three times.

Seabrook rejoined his teammates for Game 6 on Sunday and helped the Blackhawks finish off the Blues. Seabrook contributed two assists, had a plus-3 rating and helped kill off six penalties in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 series-clinching victory at the United Center.

“It was tough,” Seabrook said of serving his suspension. “I can’t watch hockey. I don’t know how you guys do it. It’s tough. You’re hanging on every shot, every save, every play. You want to be out there helping the guys.

“It was obviously tough to watch it, but they did a great job and I got to play again.”

Seabrook was suspended three games for a shoulder-to-head hit on Blues forward David Backes in Game 2. Backes missed two games due to an upper-body injury. Seabrook expressed concern for Backes and apologized for the hit after Game 2.

Seabrook spoke to the media for the first time since receiving the suspension after Game 6 on Sunday.

“I didn’t like it, obviously, but I respect their decision,” Seabrook said of the suspension. “They have a tough job. They’re not just worried about myself or just worried about Backes; they’re looking at the whole thing. Really, the only thing you can ask for is they are honest and respectful.

“[Brendan Shanahan] did a good job the last three, four, five years, however long he was [with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety]. [Stephane] Quintal has taken over and the couple of suspensions he’s handed out I think he’s been doing a good job. It’s a tough job for those guys to do that. You know one side is always going to be pissed off. I just have to take it and had to try and get ready.”

Seabrook and Backes faced each other in Sunday’s game, but Seabrook said they didn't discuss the hit. Seabrook said he hoped to talk to Backes in the next few days. The players shook hands after the game.

“We haven’t talked,” Seabrook said. “I can’t say for what he thinks about me, but I’m not a player like that. I’ve been here for nine years and you guys have seen the way I play. It was not my intention. It wasn’t deliberate.

“He’s one of their best players. You want to play him tough. You want to play him hard, but you don’t want to go out there and hurt anybody. Like I said after that game, it’s tough to see anybody laying there, whether it’s your worst enemy or your best friend it’s tough to see that.”

W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 5)

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
Powers By Scott Powers
ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 5 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Friday. The series is tied at 2-2. Here's what to watch for:

" Blues forward David Backes is unlikely to play again due to an upper-body injury. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t rule him out, but Backes didn’t participate in the morning skate again. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will be serving the final game of his three-game suspension for his hit on Backes.

" Game 5 has a good shot of going into overtime. Three of the first four games have gone past regulation and were decided by a 4-3 score.

" The Blues have defeated the Blackhawks in all four games at the Scottrade Center this season. The Blues won 4-3 in three overtimes in Game 1 and 4-3 in one overtime in Game 2 in St. Louis. Neither team has lost at home in the series.

" Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is coming off his best game of the series. He had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in the Blackhawks’ win in Game 4. He appears to have his timing back after missing the final 12 regular-season games due to a lower-body injury.

" Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko leads the NHL with four playoff goals. He had two of them in Game 4. He missed the final 15 games of the regular season.

" Both teams have been consistently effective on the penalty kill and ineffective on the power play. The Blackhawks are 2-for-16 on the power play, and the Blues are 2-for-21.

" Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa haven’t scored in the series. They combined for 64 goals in the regular season. They have had 39 shots on net in the series.

W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 4)

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Wednesday. The Blues lead the series 2-1. Here's what to watch for:

• Blues forward David Backes is questionable for the game. After the morning skate, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn't reveal whether Backes will play. Backes was hurt by a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 2. Seabrook will be out Wednesday as he serves the second game of his three-game suspension.

• Hitchcock announced forward Brenden Morrow will miss the remainder of the series due to a lower-body injury. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith did not participate in the team's morning skate, but coach Joel Quenneville said he will be fine for the game.

• The Blues believe they played their best game of the series in Game 3 despite losing 2-0 at the United Center. The Blues had 70 total shot attempts to the Blackhawks' 49. Hitchcock said, "I thought we were 80 percent in, and if we're going to beat them [Wednesday,] we're going to have to have a stronger commitment in our game."

• A power-play goal could be the difference for either team. Both teams have struggled on the power play and excelled on the penalty kill. The Blues are 1-for-16 on the power play, and the Blackhawks are 1-for-14. The Blackhawks' power-play goal came on their first chance in the series. The Blues scored theirs to tie the game in the final seconds of the third period in Game 2. Both teams have obviously been pleased with their penalty kill units.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is coming off his best game of the series. After allowing four goals in each of the first two games, Crawford stopped all 34 shots he faced in Game 3. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller wasn't far behind Crawford in Game 3. Aside from allowing a soft goal to Jonathan Toews, Miller was solid as well.

• Quenneville reunited forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on a line in Game 3. Quenneville often prefers to keep them apart to create more balance in the lineup. Kane and Toews have two of the Blackhawks' three forward goals in the series. Hitchcock joked on Tuesday, "I don't think he's fighting very fair frankly. I don't like that. But we'll find a way to figure it out."

• Game 3 was tamer than the first two games. The Blackhawks and Blues combined for seven penalties, which was the lowest amount in the series. They combined for 10 in Game 1 and 17 in Game 2. Both teams are less likely to get involved in extracurriculars after the whistle as the series goes on.

Brookbank excited to play in playoffs

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank had learned from the past he could easily go from being a healthy scratch to being on the ice in the playoffs.

Brookbank experienced that last season when he filled in for Duncan Keith, who was suspended a game in the Western Conference finals. A season later, Brookbank finds himself in a similar position after Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for an illegal hit in Game 2 of the Blackhawks' first-round series with the Blues. Brookbank will play in Game 3 of the series on Monday after being a healthy scratch the first two games.

"Definitely excited," Brookbank said after the team's morning skate on Monday. "Not exactly the circumstances I want to come in under, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting up to play. The series looks pretty emotional, pretty intense, so it's going to be a good one.

"This is where you want to be. You want to play in the playoffs. That's what we all play for. I'm just going to make the most of it."

Brookbank is known for his physical style of play, and he hopes that will be a positive for the Blackhawks against a physical Blues team.

"Better believe [it's my type of series]," Brookbank said. "It's going to be tough. Have to try and keep yourself in check and not get too caught up in all the stuff. So far, it's had a lot of bite to it, and I don't expect that to change at all."

Brookbank often was rotated in and out of the lineup with a few other defensemen during the regular season. He had two goals, five assists and a plus-two rating in 48 games this season.

Brookbank had his role increased late in the regular season when Johnny Oduya missed time due to an injury and when the Blackhawks locked up their playoff position. Brookbank played 16 minutes or more in five of the last six regular season games.

Quenneville is confident Brookbank will be able to step in and contribute against the Blues.

"He's a steady guy, simple direct," Quenneville said. "Hard to play against, and he gives us that presence back there as well."

Being inserted into the lineup this time around should be easier for Brookbank than in last season's playoffs. He hadn't played in a game in nearly six weeks when he was asked to replace Keith last season. He last played on April 12 this season.

"It was closer to two months last year, but this is maybe just over a week," Brookbank said. "So hopefully I won't be as rusty and still have the rhythm going from the regular season."
Here’s a look at the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks by the numbers:

* The Blues had 17:48 of power-play ice time in the win. They scored once on nine power-play opportunities. They are 1-for-13 on the power play for a 7.7 percentage in the series.

* The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play. They are 1-for-10 for a 10.0 percentage in the series. They scored on their first power-play attempt of the series.

* The Blackhawks accumulated a season-high 41 penalty minutes. The Blues had 20.

* Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were each held to one shot attempt. Kane has one goal and seven shots on net in the two games, and Toews has two assists and five shots on goal.

* Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig played a team-low 3:23 of ice time. He played three shifts and a total of 1:23 of ice time after the first period. He compiled 12 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute minor for roughing. Ryan Reaves played a team-low 3:49 for the Blues.

* Blackhawks defensemen accounted for all three goals in the loss. Their defensemen have scored five of their six goals in the two games. Brent Seabrook has two goals, and Michal Rozsival, Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya each have one goal.

(Read full post)



Jonathan Toews
18 9 9 5
GoalsJ. Toews 9
AssistsM. Hossa 12
+/-K. Versteeg 7
GAAC. Crawford 1.90