Former WWE superstar CM Punk is one of the biggest Blackhawks fans both in passion and in fame. Punk, who also got in the cage twice with the UFC, didn't pull any punches when talking all things Hawks and his career as a special guest on the latest episode of NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks Talk Podcast.
Three-time Stanley Cup champ Brent Seabrook's future with Chicago was among the topics covered on the pod. The 35-year-old blueliner missed most of the 2019-20 season after having surgery on his right shoulder and both hips in three separate procedures.
"The thing with Seabs is I think he's smart enough to know when he's not that guy anymore," Punk said on the pod. "Obviously he's not 2008 Seabs, I think he knows that. But, I also think there's a lot of people that say that he should waive his no-trade clause, and this and this and that. . . . Seabrook, I think he got drafted before any of the core, so he's really the guy. I mean, Seabrook is the Blackhawks. I don't want to see Seabrook play in a (Seattle) Kraken sweater (with 2021's expansion draft), I don't want to see Seabrook rekindle his career anywhere else. It's going to be hard enough to watch (Corey) Crawford in a (New Jersey) Devils jersey.
"When people criticize Seabrook's play I think it was because he was injured, what he has now is almost a fresh start. He's got everything fixed up, he's had a little bit of time off, he didn't get to play in the bubble. What I think you're going to see this year is a hungrier Seabrook just chomping at the bit, not only to get back to the level that I believe he knows he can get back to, but to prove everybody else wrong.
"It's easy to criticize and point fingers and say, 'This guy's garbage,' but I tolerate zero Seabrook slander on my timeline. Seabrook is one of the biggest reasons we have three Cups. And there's all kinds of other reasons why the Hawks haven't been winning as many games as we would like, I don't see Seabrook being the end all, be all of all that. If Seabrook waives his no-trade clause and goes somewhere else, do the Hawks become a better team? They get cap space, okay . . . what do you do with that cap space?
"There's a lot of moving parts to that and I'm very empathetic to the Seabrook situation, I will verbally spar with anybody who trashes Seabrook. Because if you're going to do that, you clearly don't know the man, don't know his heart. I don't think he gets the credit [he deserves,] a lot of people will give (Patrick) Kane and (Jonathan) Toews the credit, and rightfully so. Seabrook's a guy, I think [that] for some reason has been shuffled through the back of that line even though he's been here the longest and he's always the first guy in, last guy out kind of guy."
The Blackhawks superfan also shared quite the story about when things weren't going his way inside the cage at UFC 225 in Chicago, his hometown, against opponent Mike Jackson in June of 2018 and he looked up to see his friend and favorite hockey player watching him.
"I'm getting beat up and I remember looking up and seeing (Duncan) Keith in the front row and I'm like, 'Oh man, I'm getting beat up in front of my favorite hockey player, this is the s****,'" Punk said with a laugh. "It doesn't get any worse than that."