Brent Seabrook has been an absolute warrior for the Blackhawks. He's been one of the most durable players in franchise history and there's a reason he's worn an "A" on his sweater all these years.
So when the Blackhawks announced Thursday that Seabrook will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season due to injuries, his teammates immediately felt the impact of it.
"I was just thinking that this morning," Jonathan Toews said. "Day 1 that he's not around, you notice it right away. He's one of those vocal guys that sits in here and the lounge and everywhere you go, he's one of the biggest talkers and just social guys in the room that brings a lot of energy every day. You miss his presence for sure."
Nobody has developed a stronger connection with Seabrook than Duncan Keith, who broke into the NHL the same year Seabrook did in 2005-06. They have been best friends ever since.
"We sit beside each other in every locker room," Keith said. "It’s different not having him on the bus and things like that. He’s definitely missed. He’s battled through these injuries for a long time. Anybody else, they probably would have been missing a lot more time than that over the course of the last several seasons. Shows the mentality and the type of person that he is.
"Maybe it’s a little bit stubborn and some people might say maybe it’s not smart in some ways to battle through that, but that’s the type of attitude you need. You win with guys like that, who are willing to play through pain. The thing about him, too, is you never heard it. It wasn’t like it was at the forefront of anything. He just went about his business and was never complaining about certain things that sometimes people do over time."
Toews said he knew Seabrook was battling through nagging injuries, but not to the extent where it required him to have three surgeries — right shoulder and both hips — over a three-month span. But he's not surprised Seabrook has pushed through them over the years.
"That's just the way he is," Toews said. "He's earned that reputation as a guy who puts the team before himself, time and time again. Obviously a great leader in this locker room. Across the board, he brings it all — plays through a lot of issues and pain obviously, and he's done that in the playoffs and regular season over the years. It's kind of crazy to look at how many games he's played in the playoffs and regular season. That adds up. Give him credit for what he's been able to do. Just hope everything goes to plan and he gets healthy and fresh and ready to go whenever the recovery period is up."
To Toews' point, Seabrook has played in 1,237 games, including playoffs, and has accumulated 27,499:55 minutes of ice time. And this is the first time he's missing significant time because of an injury.
It's hard to find a player that's more well-respected on the Blackhawks and in hockey than Seabrook.
"We'll miss him so much in the locker room and just being around," Patrick Kane said. "Such a huge part of our room. Hopefully he gets his injuries fixed and comes back better than ever."
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