Early speculation that Brent Seabrook may be a healthy scratch today proved correct. The veteran defenseman and alternate captain of the Chicago Blackhawks was a healthy scratch tonight against Ottawa, showing that head coach Joel Quenneville is willing to do anything to keep his team accountable writes ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. The benching of one of the team’s most successful players is clearly a sign that things in Chicago are not going according to the normal expectations. The Chicago Sun-Times Mark Lazerus reports that “the heart and soul of the team” wasn’t thrilled with the decision, but told Lazerus that once he gets back into the lineup, he’ll “have to be ready to go.” Seabrook has been a solid core of the Blackhawks successful past but his ice-time has been reduced this season and he’s appeared a step behind in terms of foot speed. Though Quenneville said it’s “not easy” to make such a decision, it shows that the team is willing to just about anything to solidify its standing in the West.
- The Detroit News’ Gregg Krupa believes that the Red Wings are just spinning their wheels as they enjoy their five-day break and will not be returning to the playoffs anytime soon, despite a recent four-game winning streak that snapped on Sunday evening. Writing that they’re consistently inconsistent, he adds that the strides of Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha among others is encouraging for a team needing to get younger. The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James writes, however, that the Red Wings’ players believe that they can beat anyone and will begin their playoff push in earnest once their break is over. Despite several of the players’ optimism about being in the thick of the playoff race, she points out that it would take “quite the push.” While admitting that the Wings have played better than their record indicates, leapfrogging three teams and being just a point ahead of last year’s pace doesn’t bode well for even the most positive thinkers.