Tag:Brent Seabrook
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:23 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:48 pm
 

Rene Bourque has hearing for elbowing Backstrom

By Brian Stubits

While we await Brendan Shanahan's verdict of one repeat offender's actions in Daniel Carcillo, he added another repeat offender to the list of pending suspensions on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque seemed to go out of his way in Tuesday night's game against the Washington Capitals to hit Caps leading scorer Nicklas Backstrom. Despite the puck being up the ice already and it happening behind the play, Bourque gave Backstrom an elbow anyway. To the head. And it's all that he gave him.

The result was a two-minute minor for elbowing, Backstrom having to be evaluated after the game -- though he did play after the hit -- and a hearing being scheduled for Wednesday with Shanahan.

Here are some replays of the hit for you to judge for yourself.

It goes without saying that the Capitals are probably holding their breath right now regarding Backstrom's health. He has been their best and most consistent player this season, an easy pick to go to the All-Star Game representing the Capitals. He assisted on all three of Washington's goals in the 3-1 victory.

“We removed him from the game, it was precautionary,” coach Dale Hunter said on Tuesday night. “He was getting evaluated right now. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

On Wednesday, Hunter called Backstrom day to day.

As to the repeat offender status, Bourque was given a two-game suspension earlier this season from Shanahan for a boarding hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.

After the game, Bourque told the Washington Post that he wasn't even really aware if anything had happened.

"Did it look really bad? Was he hurt? I didn't even know if I clipped him," Bourque said. "I didn't even know if I hit him in the head."

Well, he did hit him in the head. So now we all know what comes next. Bourque, who has 13 goals and three assists on the season, will be banished to the corner for a timeout for a couple of games.

More NHL Discipline News Here

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:49 pm
 

Rene Bourque gets two games for boarding Seabrook

By Brian Stubits

Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque was suspended two games by Brendan Shanahan on Monday for his boarding of Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook on Sunday night.

The hit came in the opening period of the game when Seabrook got stalled a little bit by the referee, losing the puck on the ref's skates. A moment later he was heading face first into the boards as a result of a Bourque check. Bourque was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit.

Seabrook left the game and didn't return, although the Blackhawks said it was more precautionary (we also heard that with Marc Staal and Sidney Crosby at points this season, so keep your fingers crossed, Chicago).

As is the case with most every suspension, the problem here is that Bourque delivers the hit squarely from behind, staring right at Seabrook's number. Every player in the NHL has to know by now that that is as good as a big red X -- don't hit!

One of the questionable parts about this hit was the role that Seabrook losing the puck in the referee's skates played. Shanahan explained why that didn't impact the decision.

"Seabrook loses control of the puck and then his stick makes contact with the skate of the referee," Shanahan said. "However, neither cause him to significantly turn his body immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit from Bourque. Despite the fact that Seabrook is looking back and to his right, Bourque continues his pursuit and finishes Seabrook high and forcefully from behind, driving Seabrook's head into the boards.

"Although losing the puck in the referee's feet may cause Seabrook to look back and might eventually cause him to turn, contact is made before he does. Seabrook is neither falling nor turning to any degree to absolve Bourque of responsibility."

Last night I had originally said that my call would be for no suspension as bad as the hit might have looked. Well I must have been tired because looking at the slow-motion replays, it does look pretty bad. I was sort of taking it for granted that Seabrook had turned back for the puck already, but as Shanny points out, he really hadn't turned yet.

Fair ruling?

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:44 pm
Edited on: December 18, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Rene Bourque ejected for boarding Brent Seabrook

By Brian Stubits

The fans of the Blackhawks were left holding their breath in the opening period of their 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night. That's because star defenseman Brent Seabrook took a very rough and dangerous hit from Rene Bourque into the boards.

Seabrook stayed down on the ice for a few moments and was eventually helped to the locker room. He did not return in the game.

Bourque was given a five-minute major for boarding on the play as well as a game misconduct.

Before going any further, have a look at the hit.

The good news is that after the game, coach Joel Quenneville -- who picked up his 600th career win -- said that Seabrook appeared to be doing OK. "He seemed not bad after the game," Quennevill said. "We’ll know more [Monday]."

So for a player that has had a history with taking some rough head shots, that's very encouraging. More will come out on his status in coming days.

But of course the next order of business these days becomes questioning the legality of the hit that caused the injury and whether or not Brendan Shanahan will find it to be suspension worthy.

Like most, this one is very much debatable. The biggest issue is the fact that Seabrook is moving up the boards until he loses the puck and gets his stick stalled by the referee's skates, leading him to turn back and reach for the puck. That's when Bourque came in with the hit.

In the end, Bourque does deliver a hit to the numbers of an opponent. But he has a pretty good case here that he committed to the hit before Seabrook reached back and that Seabrook's change of position immediately prior to the hit led to it being dangerous. Plus, when discussing intent as Shanahan often does, it seems to be judging by Bourque's reaction immediately after the hit shows it wasn't his intent to hurt. It makes me uneasy trying to figure out what a player's intention is in these cases, but it's something Shanahan considers.

What we do know is that the hit is going to be reviewed closely by the NHL. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a suspension levied, but personally I'd err on the side of no suspension if it were my call. What's your take?

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 12:57 am
 

Blackhawks will rebound and lift the Cup again

By Brian Stubits

Last season there was a hangover in Chicago. Champagne-induced ones are the worst. That's a big reason why the Blackhawks had to fight at season's end to earn the West's final playoff spot.

But like a regular ol' college student, a day after being bed-ridden it's time to party again. That's my forecast for this season's Stanley Cup: a return to the Madhouse on Madison.

By now everybody has heard enough about the salary cap trouble Chicago found itself in. Former GM Dale Tallon gets a lot of credit for building a Stanley Cup winner, but when he was forced out of town, there was more than a parade to clean up after. For that, current GM Stan Bowman deserves a lot of credit.

Chicago was so crippled by their cap crunch that they lost a few key players to their championship like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Antti Niemi and Kris Versteeg. But the core remained, and now Bowman has reshuffled the cards to stack the deck around said core again.

2011-12 NHL Season Preview

Welcome into the fold Andrew Brunette, Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers, Steve Montador and Sean O'Donnell to the existing group that includes two of the best young players in the game of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, it's a solid group that also now has a true grinder line. Add the apparent solution to the goal riddle with Corey Crawford and you can see why optimism is back in the Windy City.

Three reasons to like the Blackhawks:

1. Skill: There are three players on this team that topped the 70-point mark last season. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp are each capable of doing it again. Marian Hossa is right there with them. If second-round draft pick Brandon Saad really is as good as he showed this preseason as he earned a spot on Chicago's TOP line, then it's an unexpected lethal addition.

2. Defense: Oh yeah, the group on the blue line has some skill, too. There's a past Norris Trophy winner who will be in the conversation again this season in Duncan Keith. He's a horse for Chicago. Last season he played more minutes than any skater in hockey. He is teamed up with another outstanding and young defenseman in Brent Seabrook. The belief is that they don't have to rely on those two as uch this season as the corps got deeper, adding Montador and O'Donnell to round out a rock solid group that also includes Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy. But the big key is Crawford. He was very impressive in his first full season and with a group like that in front of him, can continue to look stellar.

3. Chemistry: I'm not a massive believer in the intangibles in sports, but you can't deny its impact, especially among linemates. This group in Chicago doesn't seem to have any personality problems on the horizon as it is a close-knit group. "We've had that chemistry right from Day 1 -- no question about it," the veteran Sharp said on Wednesday. "When you bring in veteran players who have had success all across the league on different teams it seems like there's one excitement in the room." Let me put it this way; good chemistry can't hurt matters. Also under intangibles: They have been there before.

Photo: Getty Images

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Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Central Division Preview: 'Hawks, Wings battle on

By Brian Stubits

Enjoy this while you can, there's no telling what the Central will look like next season.

One of the premier rivalries in the sport is the Blackhawks vs. the Red Wings. The only two Original Six teams in the West, they have long been fierce combatants. In recent years the Blackhawks have awoken from the doldrums, making this a great series once again.

But this could be it, especially if Detroit has its way. Realignment is coming to the NHL, that much is guaranteed after Atlanta moved to Winnipeg. The Red Wings organization has made it no secret it wants to move East, rivalry with Chicago be damned. Columbus and Nashville would both welcome a move East as well. Something's gotta give, and it will be the Central Division.

It's too bad. Because this year the division is set up to be about more than just these two powers.

Nashville is always sneaky good. People seem to sleep on the Predators every season, but you know they will be there. They are looking to build off the first postseason series win in franchise history with their three Stars in contract seasons. St. Louis seems to think its Blues are ready to make a leap, so long as they can stay healthy. That was a challenge last season. And Columbus? Well there is at least optimism for the first time in a while and some buzz around the team after the addition of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski to join Rick Nash.

But as many strides as those teams have and are taking, in the end it will likely still be about the two powerhouses. That's because the Blackhawks are back. They suffered a little last year after winning the Stanley Cup as they had to shed a lot of salary. That meant jettisoning a good chunk of the team that won the Cup. But the core remained together and the team found its groove in the end, pushing the Canucks to the brink in the first round. But after an offseason of reinforcing the roster, Chicago figures to be in the thick until the end.

And Detroit? The Red Wings are ... well they're just the Wings. It's hard to imagine them not being good. Although this year they don't seem to be as loaded as usual, those are some pretty lofty standards. They will still be a threat not only for the division title but in the Western Conference, they can flat out score. That much we know.

So if this is it as division rivals, it should be fun.

Central Division (in predicted order of finish)

PenguinsChicago Blackhawks: Ah, it's nice to be out of salary cap hell, isn't it Chicago? After having to do major salary shedding, the Blackhawks still come out with a cast of characters that includes the names Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and newcomer Andrew Brunette. Throw in Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers to give the team some nastiness power and the forwards are well-rounded.

On defense they will miss Brian Campbell, just not his salary. Sure, he is overpaid, but that doesn't mean he didn't bring anything to the table for the 'Hawks. But the defensive corps is still solid, led by Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Expectations are very high in Chicago once again.

Strenghts: It's tough to find a better pair of linemates than Toews and Kane. They are both still stepping into their primes, so they have a lot more to show. Those two are also part of the reason why the power play should once again be successful. Last season the unit ranked fourth in the NHL with the man up, led by Sharp's 12 goals on the power play.

They figure to be better at killing penalties thanks to the additions of Mayers, Steve Montador and Sean O'Donnell, an area where Chicago struggled last season.

Weaknesses: Depth at center is a major concern at this point. The team has been experimenting during camp with Patrick Kane, of all players, manning the center position. Maybe it's an indictment on the centers on the roster. Perhaps it's an indication of Patrick Sharp's health (or lack thereof). Whatever the reason, it's slightly concerning.

I would also be a little worried about the backup goaltender situation behind Corey Crawford. Alexander Salak is going to have the job and he might be more than adequate in the role, we just don't know much about him at the NHL level where he has little experience.

PenguinsDetroit Red Wings: The Wings are remarkably consistent as they have made the playoffs in each of the past 20 seasons. They also stay consistent in their roster, retaining a lot of their players over time. Case in point, this year's forward group. The Wings will trot out mostly all the same forwards as a year ago for when they finished second in the NHL in scoring.

But the defensive corps received quite a shakeup after last season's 2.89 goals against average, the retirement of Brian Rafalski and loss of Ruslan Salei.

In net they have Jimmy Howard with Ty Conklin backing him up. You have to wonder how much confidence Ken Holland and Mike Babcock have in their starter Howard, though, after the team had a failed pursuit of Tomas Vokoun.

Strengths: As mentioned, the Red Wings can score, almost all of them. Last season there were 13 players that recorded double digits in goals scored, led by Johan Franzen's 28. There is certainly loads of experience in Detroit, too. These guys aren't in their first rodeos. That especially includes defensive stalwart Nicklas Lidstrom, who put of retirement for another year on the ice.

Having the leadership that players like Lidstrom can provide certainly doesn't hurt. Also, you might have heard this Babcock fellow on their bench isn't so bad.

Weaknesses: Defense, defense, defense. That is the major concern/question mark here. They revamped the D, bringing in Mike Commodore and Ian White through free agency. Young defenseman Jonathan Ericsson received a pretty lucrative new deal, so he will be expected to improve.

In the defensive vein, the goaltending will also need to get better. Of course, that goes hand in hand with the defense, but Howard has room to improve. Playing for the Wings, his record was solid -- a nice 37-17-5 mark -- but the goals against average of 2.79 (36th out of 47 eligible goalies) and save percentage of .908 (33rd best) aren't worth writing home about.

PenguinsNashville Predators: Hope is high in Smashville coming off the best showing in franchise history, making it to conference semifinals. The Predators have more or less become the NHL's version of a Moneyball team, continuing to cultivate home-grown talent and win on the cheap.

The team is led by the high-profile trio of goalie Pekka Rinne (Vezina finalist) and defensemen Shea Weber (Norris finalist) and Ryan Suter, who are all going into contract seasons. It will be interesting to see how that plays out for each of them. For some players, it's a major distraction, for others it brings out the best playing for a new deal.

If there's anything we've learned about the Predators in recent years it's not to count them out, at least as long as Barry Trotz is on the bench. Maybe this will be the year he finally wins the Jack Adams as the best coach?

Strengths: The Preds have one of the best defenses in all of hockey. That's due to a multitude of reasons stretching from Trotz's system and philosophy to the outstanding personnel on the blue line -- which might get stronger with the addition of heralded prospect Ryan Ellis -- and the elite goaltending of Rinne. All in all, it led to the team posting the third-lowest GAA a season ago.

The farm system is also a strength, it usually is for Nashville. In addition to Ellis, they have forward Craig Smith, who drew rave reviews by scoring six goals in two games in the team's rookie tournament games.

Weaknesses: You would love to have somebody who is the clear-cut scorer on the team. Unfortunately, the Preds just don't score a lot, period, forget about one player. Only two players (Sergei Kostitsyn and Patric Hornqvist) topped the 20-goal mark with Kostitsyn pacing the team with 23. Perhaps a healthy Mike Fisher can help with that, at least that's the hope.

As you'd expect with low offensive numbers, the power play placed in the bottom five of the entire league a season ago. The leading power-play scorer was Martin Erat last season with seven.

PenguinsSt. Louis Blues: After coming out of the gate firing 9-1-2 last season, the Blues slowed down as the season wore along, eventually missing the playoffs by 10 points partly because the team dealt with a rash of injuries. Despite that finish, there is positive momentum going in St. Louis and the ownership sees it. That's why they left the young core of the team pretty much untouched this offseason, just electing to bring in a couple of savvy veterans in Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott to make an impact.

You can see the potential here, especially with another year under their belts. It will be interesting to see how they fare over a full season with Chris Stewert, who they acquired midseason from Colorado last year. After getting the forward, the Blues' offense saw a big uptick in scoring, eventually finishing 10th in the league.

Defensively they came in just below the median at 18th in the league. The Blues should be in the playoff picture all season long.

Strengths: There is a good amount of individual talent here, starting with Stewart and new captain David Backes. In all, they had six players last season score 20 goals or more and one of them, Andy McDonald, reached that plateau in just 58 games. With the abundance of talented and skilled skaters this is a team with plenty of speed up and down the lineup.

You also have to like the young defensive corps that has two stars in the making with Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk, who each had 43 points from the back end a season ago.

Weaknesses: We weren't entirely sure where to put goaltending in this equation since Jaroslav Halak had some struggles in his first season as a No. 1 goaltender. However he showed what he's capable of when he was with the Canadiens. But based on his just average numbers of a season ago and the unsure situation behind him (Ben Bishop vs. Brian Elliott), we'll put this as our best guess.

Another area where the Blues are lacking is in the physicality department. You wonder where exactly the toughness will come from.

PenguinsColumbus Blue Jackets: What is that coming from Columbus? Is that hope? Why yes, I think it is. GM Scott Howson was active this summer by bringing in Wisniewski and Carter along with Vinny Prospal and Radek Martinek on the blue line. In addition to signing new players, Howson was also busy in signing his current players to long-term deals, specifically R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin.

Yes, the Jackets are spending money, that's not the problem. What is is the matter of how bang for the buck they are getting. To put it in perspective, the Jackets currently have a higher payroll than the Boston Bruins. The hope is that it translates into success, and a few more fans at the turnstiles as Columbus was 27th in the league in attendance last season.

Strenghts: They have struggled to score recently, but that should be done with, or at least minimized. They have a true No. 1 center now in Carter, which should only further help Nash show he is one of the best players people don't talk about in the NHL. The power play, perhaps Columbus' biggest bug-a-boo in recent seasons, should be significantly better now that they have a quarterback for the unit in Wisniewski (when he's back from suspension) and two very capable scorers up front. It had to get better from last year's 29th-ranked unit.

Weaknesses: Did somebody say goaltending? This is one area where the Blue Jackets didn't do a whole lot of upgrading. Instead, they elected to give the starting reins back to Steve Mason and signing the inexperienced Mark Dekanich to be his backup. Since winning the Calder as the league's top rookie, Mason has struggled. Last season he had a 3.01 goals against average and .901 save percentage. That's a big reason why the Jackets were 26th in scoring in the league.

And while Wisniewski helps, there still isn't much scoring threat from the blue line. Tyutin led Columbus in scoring among defensemen with just 27 points.

NHL season preview schedule
Wed., Sept. 21: Step-back players Tues., Sept. 27: Atlantic Division
Thur., Sept. 22: Breakout players Wed., Sept. 28: Central Division
Fri., Sept. 23: Southeast Division Thur. Sept. 29: Northeast Division
Mon., Sept. 26: Pacific Division Fri., Sept. 30: Northwest Division

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 16, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: September 16, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Daily Skate: Seabrook takes stand on head hits

By Brian Stubits

ANOTHER CALL: Meanwhile, another player has stepped up to take a stand on the hits to the head Crosby and other players have been campaigning against this offseason. The Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook has made his feelings clear on head shots, wanting to see more punishment (CSN Chicago). Seabrook has suffered his own concussions in the past two seasons.

MCCRIMMON UPDATE: While most of the Lokomotiv players that were aboard the tragic flight that went down in Russia have been laid to rest, coach Bobby McCrimmon still hasn't. The funeral services for the coach of the Lokomotiv team and former Red Wings assistant will take place this weekend (NHL.com) in the Detroit suburb of Farmington, Mich.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! The pre-production work has begun on the next installment of HBO's 24/7 series, this year featuring the Winter Classic combatants of the Rangers and Flyers. On Thursday the crew from HBO was with New York, grabbing some promotional footage (Pro Hockey Talk) for the popular show.

BRING HIM BACK: Speaking of the Winter Classic, the fans in Philadelphia are trying to bring back Eric Lindros for the game. A petition is making its way around to try and bring back for the former Flyers star as part of the alumni celebration.

FILLING A VOID: The Bruins have a hole to fill in their leadership program with the retirement of Mark Recchi. So who whould wear the voided A? Joe Haggerty at Comcast Sports Net New England suggests that Shawn Thornton is ready and a great choice.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com