Brent Seabrook grateful to play again

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks’ season could have ended while defenseman Brent Seabrook was serving a three-game suspension.

Seabrook needed the Blackhawks to win twice in three games against the St. Louis Blues to give him a chance to play again this season. The Blackhawks did better than that. They won three times.

Seabrook rejoined his teammates for Game 6 on Sunday and helped the Blackhawks finish off the Blues. Seabrook contributed two assists, had a plus-3 rating and helped kill off six penalties in the Blackhawks’ 5-1 series-clinching victory at the United Center.

“It was tough,” Seabrook said of serving his suspension. “I can’t watch hockey. I don’t know how you guys do it. It’s tough. You’re hanging on every shot, every save, every play. You want to be out there helping the guys.

“It was obviously tough to watch it, but they did a great job and I got to play again.”

Seabrook was suspended three games for a shoulder-to-head hit on Blues forward David Backes in Game 2. Backes missed two games due to an upper-body injury. Seabrook expressed concern for Backes and apologized for the hit after Game 2.

Seabrook spoke to the media for the first time since receiving the suspension after Game 6 on Sunday.

“I didn’t like it, obviously, but I respect their decision,” Seabrook said of the suspension. “They have a tough job. They’re not just worried about myself or just worried about Backes; they’re looking at the whole thing. Really, the only thing you can ask for is they are honest and respectful.

“[Brendan Shanahan] did a good job the last three, four, five years, however long he was [with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety]. [Stephane] Quintal has taken over and the couple of suspensions he’s handed out I think he’s been doing a good job. It’s a tough job for those guys to do that. You know one side is always going to be pissed off. I just have to take it and had to try and get ready.”

Seabrook and Backes faced each other in Sunday’s game, but Seabrook said they didn't discuss the hit. Seabrook said he hoped to talk to Backes in the next few days. The players shook hands after the game.

“We haven’t talked,” Seabrook said. “I can’t say for what he thinks about me, but I’m not a player like that. I’ve been here for nine years and you guys have seen the way I play. It was not my intention. It wasn’t deliberate.

“He’s one of their best players. You want to play him tough. You want to play him hard, but you don’t want to go out there and hurt anybody. Like I said after that game, it’s tough to see anybody laying there, whether it’s your worst enemy or your best friend it’s tough to see that.”