BOSTON —Yes, of course, Brent Seabrook wants to be play for Team Canada in September’s World Cup of Hockey. But he’s got more important things to worry about over the next two to four months.
“Obviously, you’d like to be a part of it,” Seabrook said. “It’d be a great honor. But I’m focused on doing what I’ve got to do here, and helping this team get in the playoffs and go on a long run. That’s my focus. By doing that, I can help my case.”
Seabrook’s certainly putting up attention-grabbing numbers, as he continues to take advantage of his move to the top power-play unit in the wake of Patrick Sharp’s departure. He had a goal and two assists on Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, his third three-point night of the season. He had just one such game in the previous four seasons combined. His 13 goals are four more than his previous career high, set three times. And his 41 points are just seven shy of his career high, set in 2010-11. Six of his goals and 20 of his points —about half —have come on the power play.
“I don’t think it’s just the power play,” Joel Quenneville said. “He’s shooting the puck better than I’ve ever seen him, he’s putting himself in a great spot to get his shot through. … But he does the shot-first mentality on our power play. I think that’s what’s helped our power play this year.”
Seabrook didn’t make the preliminary roster for Canada, which was released on Wednesday. But there are seven spots left to be filled by June 1, including probably three defensemen, so he still has a chance to join Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford on the team. With two right-shooting defensemen already on the roster, Seabrook is likely competing with Montreal’s P.K. Subban, San Jose’s Brent Burns, and St. Louis’ Alex Pietrbngelo, among others.
Seabrook was part of the Canadian team that won gold at the 2010 Olympics, but missed the cut in 2014. As long as he keeps firing away with his hard, heavy shot, he’ll at least be in the discussion.
“You get some fortunate breaks when you load it up, but he’s not afraid to shoot it and he puts himself in a position where he can get them away quickly, because everybody takes away shooting lanes,” Quenneville said. “Whether it’s power play or 5-on-5, his shot’s been very effective.”