CHICAGO – Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook will be back in the lineup for Sunday night’s Game 6 against Vancouver after missing the previous two games as he recovered from a hit to the head from the Canucks’ Raffi Torres.
Seabrook was knocked to the ice a week ago in Game 3 on Torres’ hard shoulder hit, a blow some Blackhawks felt should have resulted in a suspension. Seabrook later returned to that game but was not cleared to play in Games 4 and 5.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, who trailed the Canucks 3-0 in the opening-round series, won both games that Seabrook missed by lopsided scores and are back on home ice trying to even the series.
Coach Joel Quenneville announced Sunday after a team meeting that Seabrook would play.
“He’s a big guy physically. He’s able to—I don’t know if the word is fight back—but withstand that type of hit,” Quenneville said. “I think there are processes you go to go through, but at the same time we know that the one thing you don’t have to worry about is his toughness. It’s there.”
Fellow defenceman Duncan Keith has scored four goals in the last three games, picking up the slack with Seabrook gone on both ends of the ice.
“The fact that he gets to play again is going to help us out in a lot of ways,” Quenneville said of Seabrook. “He assumes a lot of quality ice time in all situations, as well as gives us some size and some presence back there. He’s got a big shot offensively, so it’s nice to have him back there.”
The six-foot-three, 218-pound Seabrook has five goals and 18 assists in 42 career playoff games. He has not scored in the three games he has played in the Canucks’ series and is a -minus one. During the regular season, Seabrook had nine goals, 39 assists and had 227 hits.