Brent Seabrook is back and the Blackhawks hope to get a boost from him. The physical defenseman passed league concussion protocols Sunday and will suit up for the Hawks in another do-or-die game against the Vancouver Canucks.
“He’s an important part of the team,” coach Joel Quenneville said after a team meeting before Game 6 at the United Center. “His makeup and his leadership qualities are a big part of our team. Even though he wasn’t playing, you could feel his presence around the locker room and in the guys.
“They competed for him in ways that was nice to see that he’s still a big part of our team. The fact that he gets to play again is going to help us out in a lot of ways.”
Seabrook had asked his teammates to give him another chance to play in the series after they fell behind the Canucks 3-0. Seabrook sat out Games 4 and 5 after enduring a shoulder-to-head hit from Raffi Torres in Game 3 and suffering a concussion.
“Every player like that gives us more and more confidence,” winger Marian Hossa said of Seabrook. “He’s a big part of our hockey team. … It’s definitely going to be a huge help on the blue line.”
That blue line stepped up in Seabrook’s absence, especially Duncan Keith. But Chris Campoli and Nick Leddy have also played more in all situations and have excelled. Their overall play has been crucial for the Hawks in their last two wins.
“There is no doubt Brent is a big part of our team,” Campoli said. “He’s a legitimate No. 1 no matter what team he is on. … He just wanted another chance to play. We wanted to give it to him. Obviously, we had to find a way to stay alive in the series. It’s not easy playing without one of your best players. He’s a competitive guy. He wants to be out there. We know that. It’s tough to sit back and watch. We know that too.
“He was open about getting another chance. So far, we’ve been lucky enough to give it to him. Going forward hopefully he can be a part of it.”
With Seabrook back in, tough guy John Scott could be the odd-man out. The Hawks’ lineup changes won’t be known until game time Sunday.