Brent Seabrook’s status for Game 4 Tuesday night went from “likely” to “out” for the Blackhawks as he continues to recover from the head-high hit he endured from Canucks trouble-maker Raffi Torres.
“He’s day-to-day,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Seabrook.
The Hawks will be getting Dave Bolland (concussion) back in the lineup for the first time since March 9. But the loss of Seabrook looms large for the Hawks.
Seabrook has been their most physical defenseman all season. He handles the point on the power play and is a clog on the penalty kill.
“Over the course of the last couple days, we were evaluating him,” Quenneville said. “Getting to see this morning how things presented, we were hopeful that he was playing [Tuesday night]. We made our decision [Tuesday] morning.”
Seabrook was hit in the head by Torres — a play the NHL ruled was a legal play — at 12:14 in the second period of Game 3. He didn’t leave the game immediately. But Torres struck again later in the period after he served an interference penalty. Seabrook didn’t finish the period, but returned in the third period.
“He hit the head first,” Seabrook said Monday. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s the first thing I felt. It was the only thing I felt. The rest of my body is feeling the rest of it today. Last night, all I could really feel [was it] in my ear. The way it looked to me, the head was hit first. Whether he was targeting it or not, he made contact with the head first.”
There are questions whether Seabrook should have sat out the rest of Game 3 and not returned for the third period. But Seabrook insisted on playing and he was evaluated by the Hawks’ medical staff.
“It’s the playoffs. I want to play,” Seabrook said.
There will be lineup changes with Seabrook out and it looks like tough guy John Scott is the top option. Brian Campbell and Chris Campoli will likely see their minutes increase.
“We’ll share some minutes and some responsibilities,” Quenneville said.
Torres wasn’t suspended by the league for the hit, which surprised and disappointed Seabrook and his teammates.
“This hit meets none of the criteria that would subject Torres to supplemental discipline, including an application of Rule 48: he did not charge his opponent or leave his feet to deliver this check,” NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said. “He did not deliver an elbow or extended forearm and this hit was not ‘late’.”
Torres was playing in his first game since getting suspended four games for elbowing the Edmonton Oilers’ Jordan Eberle in the head. He is yet to speak to the media regarding the hit or the lack of a suspension.
“Just focusing on the game [Tuesday night]. That’s about it,” Torres said as he walked past the media waiting in the Canucks locker room for him before Game 4.