Seabrook skates; Canucks in new mental state

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Seabrook skates; Canucks in new mental state

4Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:09 a.m. Updated: 4:34 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com
And so, theyre back.

The Blackhawks have gotten this series with the Vancouver Canucks back to being a series again, and the Blackhawks are riding a wave of momentum entering Game 6 Sunday night at the United Center.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault recognizes that momentum surge. He also knows his team needs to grab it away.

Weve got to get our urgency without a doubt to match their level of desperation, he said. Ever since Game 4 their (desperation) has certainly gone to another level and we need to do that also.

So the Canucks have their plan: play Game 6 like its a Game 7. No holding back, no acting like theres another game to close this series out and send the Blackhawks packing for good.

It puts us on the same frame of mind as the other guys, Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo said. Theres no more room for mistakes. We want to make sure were playing as desperate as the other side tomorrow.

The Blackhawks have piled a ton of goals into these last two games, outscoring the Canucks 12-2. The Blackhawks were basically free to do what they wanted in Game 5, thanks to a wealth of space on the ice. Its one of the biggest concerns the Canucks want to shore up in Game 6.

Not that Vigneault was going to tip his hand as to how theyd do that.

Were aware of the situation. Well put something in place and see if we can do a better job, he said. The Blackhawks have a lot of weapons. We need to get ready for their different weapons.

Seabrook hopeful

Brent Seabrook skated with his Blackhawks teammates on Saturday and coach Joel Quenneville hopes the defenseman can play tomorrow night.

It was the first time Seabrook has skated since he suffered a concussion from a Raffi Torres shoulder-to-head hit in Game 3 last Sunday. It sounds like Seabrook would have to pass the necessary tests tomorrow morning to play.

Obviously getting on the ice with the guys it was a lot of fun out there, said Seabrook, who added that he started feeling some symptoms entering Game 4 last weekend, the first game hed missed all season. He said he felt pretty good on Friday and is symptom-free today.

Im just overall excited to go, he said.

Quenneville said the Blackhawks will know more tomorrow on whether Seabrook can go. Seabrook did not skate among the top-six defensemen during drills; he was paired with Jassen Cullimore through practice. John Scott has played in Seabrooks place the past two games.

For Seabrook, its been tough to watch these last two games from the sidelines. He traveled to Vancouver for Game 5 and his sweater hung in the locker beside partner Duncan Keith.

Obviously I want to be out there with the guys, he said. I was talking with them and asking for another chance to get into the lineup. They did an unbelievable job and played two great games. Hopefully tomorrow's a better day for me and I can get back in there and help the guys out.

Tennis, anyone?

The Canucks opened their Saturday practice by passing and shooting with tennis balls. Vigneault said there was nothing strategic about it.

Its just a new way to warm up, he said. Were always looking for new ways to warm up.

Elbows and slashes

Troy Brouwer said he talked to officials in Game 5 after Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler caught him with an elbow. The chat, however, didnt help Brouwers cause.

The ref that was behind me, I had a quick chat with him and his angle was blocked by my body, so its tough to see. You know, he called a slash (on me), Brouwer said. So, he can see sticks but not elbows, I guess.

Edler said he did nothing wrong.

I didnt try anything with an elbow. I saw that he was coming and tried to cut him off at the net a little bit.

He said it

Roberto Luongo on the United Center crowd: Ive always liked playing in this building. I love it when the crowd yells at me, even when I got pulled.

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

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

* “Don’t look to the past anymore. It’s great to think you can recapture the magic with former players but years go by and times change.”

The sentences you see above were written by yours truly after the Blackhawks were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round in April. And for the most part, I stand by the message. The Blackhawks kept going back to their alumni well for solutions but, for the most part, it wasn’t working. But there’s always an exception to the rule, always one asterisk that can be applied in every situation (as we’ve done here).

In this case, that exception is Brandon Saad.

This isn’t someone who played with the Blackhawks five or more years ago. This isn’t a player who’s in his 30s. This isn’t a player who’s at the end of his career. This is a player in his prime, a 24-year-old who has a whole lot of game remaining and a whole lot of familiarity with this group, especially captain Jonathan Toews.

By the way, anyone else struck by the irony that the same Saad deal that the Blackhawks couldn’t afford two years ago is now one that fits perfectly, and will be really beneficial in two seasons when they don’t have to worry about trying to re-sign Artemi Panarin, who will be an unrestricted free agent?

Anyway, back to revisiting the past. General manager Stan Bowman admitted that he was hoping to bring Saad back into the fold at some point, although talks for this particular deal didn’t heat up until the past few days.

“Certainly it was a tough move a couple of years ago to have to make that trade [of Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015]," Bowman said. “Today my conversation had a much different tone. Brandon’s coming back and that chemistry is there right away and intensity and the way he plays. His all-around game is second to none.”

Saad said he wondered if he’d end up with the Blackhawks again at some point in his career.

“The day I was traded I talked with Stan and you part ways, but it’s a small league and there are always opportunities. It was definitely a thought in my mind possibly ending up in Chicago,” he said. “I didn’t think it’d happen this soon but that’s just the way it happened. It’s exciting to be back somewhere I’m comfortable, somewhere I know and an organization that’s had success.”

Yes, the Blackhawks went back to their alumni well. But instead of getting an aging veteran they’ve reacquired a kid in his prime. Every situation can come with an asterisk. This is one exception that will turn out well for the Blackhawks. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bye-bye Bread Man and Hammer; welcome back Saad

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bye-bye Bread Man and Hammer; welcome back Saad

Sports Talk Live is on location at the NHL Draft Fanfest. Kap is joined by Pat Boyle (CSN Chicago), David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Tracey Myers (CSNChicago.com) and Jamal Mayers (CSN Chicago) to discuss the Blackhawks big trades plus the Bulls deciding to start a rebuild by dealing Jimmy Butler.

Listen to the full episode at this link or below.