It was about a year ago at this time that Brent Seabrook and some Chicago Blackhawks’ teammates came back from a night on the town in Glendale, Ariz., carrying a gold plated, championship wrestling belt.
From then until the end of the season, after each win the player of the game was given the belt in recognition of his performance. That player in turn would award it to the next player after the team’s next victory. This went on until the Hawks won the Stanley Cup behind Patrick Kane’s game winner.
He subsequently misplaced it during some summer partying.
It returned in time for the new season, and on Wednesday Duncan Keith handed it over to Seabrook, making a statement about the games both have played over the last two wins. They’ve been superb.
“Reuniting them was something I think they got excited about,” Joel Quenneville said after the Hawks 4-0 shutout of Florida. “Be it offensively or defensively there is some familiarity with one another. There is predictability anticipating where they are going to be.”
How about offensively and defensively. They’ve combined for two goals and three assists in wins over Phoenix and Florida, while helping limit their opponents to just one goal combined.
Seabrook’s power-play blast on Wednesday was the game-winner and opened the flood gates for a pull-away victory.
“[On the goal], to be honest, I just tried to shoot it as hard as I could,” Seabrook said with his belt next to him in the dressing room. “Toews made a great play to get the pass to Duncan, and Duncan made a great pass to me. It was one of those things, I just tried to let it rip and luckily it found the back of the net.”
Defensively, the Hawks gave up 23 shots apiece in the two games, that’s five less than their season average. Keith and Seabrook were a combined plus-3 in the two wins. Maybe the mojo has returned for the dynamic duo and at just the right time.
“We’re just trying to play hockey,” an understated Seabrook said. “We’re just trying to do our thing and play out there.”
As for being named the No. 1 star, Seabrook was equally understated.
“It’s cool,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool thing. It’s whatever.”
It’s back to back wins thanks, in part, to elite play by the Hawks former Olympic and Stanley Cup heroes. Now they just have to continue that play for about three more months and they could be current heroes again.