Seabrook’s exclusion from Team Canada’s Olympic squad hurt, but he’s focusing on the positives, including a run at a repeat championship
All things considered, Brent Seabrook leads a charmed life. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner and star blueliner on the defending-champion Chicago Blackhawks. He has three gold medals on the international scene: one at the Under-18 World Championship, one World Junior Championship and one at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
But all that success didn’t dull the sting of not being named to Team Canada’s 2014 squad. “I was disappointed,” Seabrook said. “I wanted to make the team, but there are a lot of good Canadian players out there. I rooted for (the 2014 team) to do well.”
The positive side of not being named to Team Canada: Seabrook was able to take his family on a Hawaiian vacation during the Olympic break and focus his energies on keeping the Blackhawks in solid condition and ready for another deep playoff run. The 28-year-old amassed as many points (34) in his first 60 games this season as he did in 78 games of 2011-12.
Team success is crucial for Seabrook, because the first time he and his teammates came off a Cup win in 2010, the results weren’t ideal. They stumbled out of the gate to an 11-11-2 record and barely made the playoffs as the eighth seed.
This time around, Seabrook and Chicago’s other leaders understood they would need to improve their early-season efforts and that’s precisely what they did. “Winning the Cup two of the last four seasons, every team is gunning for you,” Seabrook said.
“We were more prepared for that this year. Guys came back more focused. We wanted a good start and to keep rolling.”
If there was one area of concern for Seabrook and the Blackhawks, it was their January slide in which they won only five times in 14 games. But that’s a little deceiving. In six of the nine January losses, the Hawks secured a point by taking the game into overtime or a shootout (5-3-6).
This isn’t lost on Seabrook, who is confident in his team’s chances to repeat despite a serious challenge within their own division by the powerhouse St. Louis Blues.
“I don’t think we’ve been struggling that much,” he said. “We’re in every game, we just couldn’t get it done in overtime or shootouts. You have ups and downs. If that’s a down for us, I think all the boys will take it.”