Blackhawks breakdown:Brent Seabrook

759892.png

Blackhawks breakdown:Brent Seabrook

Over the next five weeks, CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Brent Seabrook might have completed the finest season of his career. In 2011-12, Seabrook played 24 minutes and 43 seconds per game in 78 games. He matched his career-high with nine goals -- two on the power play -- and had 25 assists for 34 points. He led the team with 198 hits and 165 blocked shots and ranked No. 9 in the NHL with a plus-21 rating. In six games against the Coyotes, he registered one goal, two assists and a plus-1. He also delivered 26 hits and 12 blocked shots in the six games.

Boden's take: Its probably unanimous, Brent Seabrook was the Blackhawks best defenseman this past season. He led them all with his nine goals, led the team in hits and blocked shots, had the second-highest plusminus of his career -- and, like a lot of the core guys -- did his best work down the stretch when the team needed a push to get into the playoffs without its captain (four goals, six assists in the last 14 games).

He was just as effective against Phoenix, and he did it all in the first year of the five-year, 29 million contract extension he signed a little more than a year ago. Hes kept his hunger even though hes already eaten. Its not like Seabrook has never had bad games, but I cant remember a time where hes lacked effort. While you can even get Jonathan Toews to crack a smile once in a while, Seabrooks really the most serious guy in that locker room. Hes not from the Windy City, but he epitomizes the Blackhawk version of Chicago tough.

Myers' take: On a defensemen group that had its highs and lows, Seabrook was very steady last season. He was solid on the power play because he wasnt afraid to shoot, and reliable in front of his own net because he wasnt afraid to go down and block a shot. And his offense in the late regular seasonearly postseason was vital to the Blackhawks.

2012-13 Expectations

Chris: Is it possible to clone him and put the clone on the second defensive pair with Nick Leddy? Im not sure how much more can be reasonably asked of Seabrook if we just keep asking for more of the same. Without someone else like him, Id hate to see where this defense would be, as currently constituted, if they were to be without him for any stretch of time. Maybe the thing that needs to be asked is whether - as in the case with defensive partner Duncan Keith - the Hawks can shave a minute or two of ice time per game off his workload by the rest of the blueline corps building more trust.

Top pair. Power play point man. Penalty killer. Physical presence. Beast. Hes in his prime, entering his eighth season, turning 28. Lets see if they pull out every stop to keep him around at this level as long as they can, before wear and tear kicks in.

Tracey: Seabrook rewarded the Blackhawks in the first year of his contract extension in 2011-12, and hes likely to do the same next season. He should also be a big presence on the power play to start the season, too.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out some of Seabrook's highlights above.

Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell
Up next: Nick Leddy

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

update-121.jpg
AP

Morning Update: Dwyane Wade comes up clutch in close win vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Sunday on CSN: UIC travels to Valparaiso

One-goal victories are great but Blackhawks’ method has to change

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Blackhawks acquire Michael Latta from Kings in swap of minor leaguers

Phillips DT Chris Elmore commits to Syracuse

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

Dwyane Wade gets a little help but saves the day defensively vs. Kings

It was a gift and the Bulls weren't going to look it in the mouth as Dwyane Wade was poised to finish off another one of his sterling defensive plays with a breakaway dunk with the game tied and Arron Afflalo and DeMarcus Cousins trailing.

Lightly touched by the small of his back by Cousins, Wade miscalculated his liftoff and missed the dunk but was bailed out by the refs for a foul with 14 seconds left.

Then, he bailed the Bulls out.

Wade had his fifth fourth-quarter defensive play, stripping Cousins on a steal on the ensuing possession with the Sacramento Kings having a chance to win, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk and finishing a 102-99 win Saturday night at the United Center.

It was a clock-turning performance for Wade on both ends of the floor, even if his missed dunk is a reminder that he is 35 years old. 

"I took off too far as I look at the instant replay," Wade said. "I should've took maybe one more dribble. Can't say I felt 35, I just took off too far (laughs). But hey, sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don't. I'm a person who hasn't gotten a lot all year so I'm not gonna apologize for nothing."

Stripping Cousins on his spin move was the finale, but he swatted an Arron Afflalo corner triple in the fourth, smothered Ty Lawson at the rim twice for blocked shots to end the third and tortured Lawson again in the fourth for another steal that led to him following up a Jimmy Butler missed layup with a follow and foul.

"Just a read," said Wade on stripping Cousins. "We knew he was gonna go to DeMarcus at that point. Once we forced him left, I knew he had to come back to the right hand. And being in the right place at the right time, the ball was right there for me."

Wade played like a desperate and motivated man, putting up 30 with six rebounds and four assists on the second night of a back-to-back is proof positive he took Friday's loss to Atlanta personally and used his play to back up those feelings.

He took to twitter to apologize for the poor effort against the Hawks, producing his best all-around performance as a Bull.

"We've been good in desperate moments," Wade said. "We haven't been good in non-desperate moments, when we win three in a row or playing a team that we should beat. But (in) the desperate moments I like us."

He scored 13 in the fourth, along with the last of his four blocked shots and all three of his steals took place in the final 12.

"I thought he was terrific," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He was aggressive all game long, taking the ball to the basket, getting to the line 15 times. He came up with two big plays."

Hoiberg threw out different lineups and rotations, playing Paul Zipser as a sixth man and having the second-round draft pick close the game. Zipser took advantage, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points.

"I thought it was night and day from last night," Hoiberg said. "Our energy was really good all night long. We got just enough stops to find a way to win."

Cousins dominated the game with 42 and 14 rebounds in 35 minutes, the only Kings player in double figures all night.

"He was pretty much unguardable for the majority of the game, Taj did a solid job on him," Hoiberg said. "When Robin was on him, they put him on the perimeter and let him shoot threes. He's a monster."

Back-to-back triples from Cousins gave him 40 and tied the game at 97, as a third one rimmed out with a little under two minutes left.

Cousins dominated the start of the third quarter, hitting midrange jumpers over Lopez and taunting the Bulls bench after hitting a jumper to put the Kings ahead, 70-63 midway through the third.

But the Bulls stayed close, with Hoiberg choosing to sit Rajon Rondo for the second half after playing him six minutes in the second quarter, using Wade as a point guard and going with Carter-Williams for defense, along with Zipser, who didn't look scared of the moment.

"I like the wrinkle coach put in there, putting him in early," Wade said. "He gave him an opportunity and he helped us big time."

Butler scored 23 with seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes, didn't have to play the hero for once and made fun of Wade's apology tweet.

"He was due for a big night," Butler said. "He can tweet again if he can come out again and give us 30 and some big steals and big dunks."

"I think that's what called of him, to score baskets and guard. It's kinda sneaky. You never really expect it until it happens."

It looked like the worst was over when the Bulls made a short run to end the third, surviving the onslaught from Cousins — and surviving their own experimenting with Zipser instead of going with Denzel Valentine, switching things up altogether.

But the tone was set by the leaders, who can only manufacture but so much urgency on a nightly basis.

"I like this team when we're desperate," Wade said. "A desperate team, we're not bad."