It's official: Seabrook agrees to five-year extension

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It's official: Seabrook agrees to five-year extension

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011
Posted 1:10 PM Updated 10:30 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Brent Seabrook said the contract talks between his agent and the Chicago Blackhawks were on his mind this season.

Now he can set his mind at ease.

Seabrook's five-year extension with the Blackhawks became official on Sunday, as he became the latest player the team has locked up long-term. TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that the deal is for 29 million - with an annual cap hit of 5.8 million with a limited no-trade clause.

Im very excited. Chicagos been my home for the last six years and I love it here, Seabrook said after the Blackhawks 4-3 shootout victory over Phoenix. Thereve been a lot of ups and downs, but I think were going to have more ups than downs in the future.

Beginning next season, according to capgeek.com, the Blackhawks will have nearly 24 million of cap space devoted to their defensemen. Theyll have 49 million devoted to 12 players. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said he took that all into account with the Seabrook deal.

We dont know what cap is, but indications itll be similar and based on those projections were comfortable with where that leaves us, he said, referring to a potential increase in the 2011-12 salary cap.

This summer wont be nearly as difficult as last year. We had three players (Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) getting dramatic raises all at the same time for a team already at the cap, Bowman continued. This year Brents getting a raise, but he was already making a good salary. There are a few others we need to sign, but theyre not the dramatic increases like last year.

According to capgeek.com Seabrook will be paid 7 million the next two years which includes a 2 million signing bonus for each and 5 million each of the final three years. Bowman said Seabrook is just hitting his prime, and Seabrook agreed this is the time for his best to come out.

I think this year Ive tried to get more shots to the net, tried to make more plays, Seabrook said. Its one of those things when you play on the first-unit power play, those guys can put it in the net when given the opportunity. Im going to continue to work on (my offense) this summer. I could probably have 15 goals this year. Its something Id like to work on and get better at, just finishing.

The Blackhawks have a lot of money invested in players for the next few seasons, especially in their defense. With players still left to be signed, could that mean more changes this summer? Bowman said he foresees the Blackhawks keeping their defense together, but a lot happens between now and next October.

We have to see how the season ends, how the summer goes, he said. Well have some new players on our team for sure, but we certainly planned in signing Seabrook with the current group here and making sure everything would work out. Were confident it will.

Bowman said Saturday that the best in the league benefit from great blue lines. Now he has Seabrook as part of the Blackhawks corps for a while.

We knew all along we wanted to sign Brent and it took longer than we both wanted. But sometimes these things do. There were a lot of things to consider from our perspective and theirs. Were just happy to get it done.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Expectations for John Hayden in the playoffs

On this episode of the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle breakdown Tuesday's controversial ending with Vancouver. They discuss whether Darling was interfered with on the game winning goal and did Toews deserve a penalty for running into Ryan Miller?

They also discuss the expectations for John Hayden and the tough lineup decisions at forward, that Joel Quenneville will have in the playoffs.

Tracey weighs in on who has been the more impressive goalie tandem, Crow and Emery in 2013 or this year's pair, Crow and Darling?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Blackhawks want to finish strong while staying fresh for postseason

Every team has goals it wants to hit at various parts of the season. At the start you want to be strong so you can save yourself a mad scramble to get into the postseason. In the middle, you want to just keep pace, get through that drudgery known as games 40-60.

But what about the end? If you're a playoff-bound team it's about reaching balance: you want to play your best hockey but also want to get your rest and conserve energy for the "next season."

The Blackhawks are in this mode right now. The postseason berth has been wrapped up. They've hit the 100-point mark and still maintain a six-point lead in the conference/division. So with nine games left the Blackhawks will try to get that overall play they had through most of February while being mindful of rest.

"We have [nine] to go and want to make sure we're fresh. At the same time, we want to be competitive," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We're looking to play games and in games, if we have a chance to back off a little bit, that'll be dictated by the score, the time of the game."

Entering their last two games trailing by two, the Blackhawks haven't had the chance to back off. They've had to do the opposite. Quenneville has said the team's four-line rotation, which was great in February, hasn't been there the past few games. Part of that could be due to injury. Artem Anisimov has missed the last three-plus games with a left-leg injury and is still expected to miss another 2-3 weeks. The Blackhawks have found ways to win despite that, but want to get back to more consistent hockey.

"Obviously we still want to try to win our division you want to be playing well," Brian Campbell said. "The last [few] games have been OK, spurts and stuff, so we want to ramp it up. There are some guys who can probably back off if they need or want to, there are those situations. It's a good situation to have. But this team's been around, they know how to prepare and get ready for it."

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So does Quenneville. We've reached that time of the season when the Blackhawks won't practice much, if at all. They're playing every other day and their morning skates are their versions of practice. As for in games, the Blackhawks know how to keep their energy up there, too.

"I think just playing good hockey and taking short shifts is key. You're not extending shifts to a minute and a half, two minutes," Ryan Hartman said. "You're conserving some long-term energy."

The Blackhawks are nearing the regular-season finish line but another race awaits them. They want to be ready for the postseason but they don't want to get too relaxed down the stretch.

"It's still the regular season. Nobody's taking the foot off the gas pedal. We're still trying to win hockey games and you want to come into the playoffs with a winning atmosphere and winning attitude," Hartman said. "Take every game one at a time and don't try to play conservative. Play good and winning hockey."