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Seabrook skates; Canucks in new mental state

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Seabrook skates; Canucks in new mental state

4Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 11:09 a.m. Updated: 4:34 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com
And so, theyre back.

The Blackhawks have gotten this series with the Vancouver Canucks back to being a series again, and the Blackhawks are riding a wave of momentum entering Game 6 Sunday night at the United Center.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault recognizes that momentum surge. He also knows his team needs to grab it away.

Weve got to get our urgency without a doubt to match their level of desperation, he said. Ever since Game 4 their (desperation) has certainly gone to another level and we need to do that also.

So the Canucks have their plan: play Game 6 like its a Game 7. No holding back, no acting like theres another game to close this series out and send the Blackhawks packing for good.

It puts us on the same frame of mind as the other guys, Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo said. Theres no more room for mistakes. We want to make sure were playing as desperate as the other side tomorrow.

The Blackhawks have piled a ton of goals into these last two games, outscoring the Canucks 12-2. The Blackhawks were basically free to do what they wanted in Game 5, thanks to a wealth of space on the ice. Its one of the biggest concerns the Canucks want to shore up in Game 6.

Not that Vigneault was going to tip his hand as to how theyd do that.

Were aware of the situation. Well put something in place and see if we can do a better job, he said. The Blackhawks have a lot of weapons. We need to get ready for their different weapons.

Seabrook hopeful

Brent Seabrook skated with his Blackhawks teammates on Saturday and coach Joel Quenneville hopes the defenseman can play tomorrow night.

It was the first time Seabrook has skated since he suffered a concussion from a Raffi Torres shoulder-to-head hit in Game 3 last Sunday. It sounds like Seabrook would have to pass the necessary tests tomorrow morning to play.

Obviously getting on the ice with the guys it was a lot of fun out there, said Seabrook, who added that he started feeling some symptoms entering Game 4 last weekend, the first game hed missed all season. He said he felt pretty good on Friday and is symptom-free today.

Im just overall excited to go, he said.

Quenneville said the Blackhawks will know more tomorrow on whether Seabrook can go. Seabrook did not skate among the top-six defensemen during drills; he was paired with Jassen Cullimore through practice. John Scott has played in Seabrooks place the past two games.

For Seabrook, its been tough to watch these last two games from the sidelines. He traveled to Vancouver for Game 5 and his sweater hung in the locker beside partner Duncan Keith.

Obviously I want to be out there with the guys, he said. I was talking with them and asking for another chance to get into the lineup. They did an unbelievable job and played two great games. Hopefully tomorrow's a better day for me and I can get back in there and help the guys out.

Tennis, anyone?

The Canucks opened their Saturday practice by passing and shooting with tennis balls. Vigneault said there was nothing strategic about it.

Its just a new way to warm up, he said. Were always looking for new ways to warm up.

Elbows and slashes

Troy Brouwer said he talked to officials in Game 5 after Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler caught him with an elbow. The chat, however, didnt help Brouwers cause.

The ref that was behind me, I had a quick chat with him and his angle was blocked by my body, so its tough to see. You know, he called a slash (on me), Brouwer said. So, he can see sticks but not elbows, I guess.

Edler said he did nothing wrong.

I didnt try anything with an elbow. I saw that he was coming and tried to cut him off at the net a little bit.

He said it

Roberto Luongo on the United Center crowd: Ive always liked playing in this building. I love it when the crowd yells at me, even when I got pulled.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

3 Takeaways: Dominik Kubalik nets first NHL hat trick

3 Takeaways: Dominik Kubalik nets first NHL hat trick

Dominik Kubalik had a hat trick to help the Blackhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Here are four takeaways: 

Rookie with the hatty

Blackhawks rookie Kubalik, 24, earned his first NHL hat trick in Thursday's game in Tampa Bay, with his third goal being on the empty net for the final score. All three of his markers came in the third period.

Kubalik's 29 goals lead all NHL rookies. He has 18 goals in his last 22 games. 

Third-period resurgence 

Brandon Saad and Slater Koekkoek also found the back of the net in the third period to assist Kubalik in giving the Blackhawks a 5-2 lead off of five-unanswered third-period goals after trailing 2-0. 

Saad picked up his second goal in as many games and Koekkoek's tally was his first goal as a Hawk, which came against his former team. 

It was the Blackhawks' first regulation win at the Lightning's Amalie Arena in 11 years. 

Power staying on

The Blackhawks have power-play goals in four straight games, including three in St. Louis on Tuesday. Kubalik's second goal of the game was on the man advantage at 11:43 of the third, putting Chicago up 4-2. 

The Hawks were 1-for-6 on the power play in Tampa and the Lightning were 0-for-5.

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Robin Lehner on things not working out with Blackhawks after trade to Vegas Golden Knights

Robin Lehner on things not working out with Blackhawks after trade to Vegas Golden Knights

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner has only been with the Vegas Golden Knights for three days after being traded by the Blackhawks ahead of Monday's deadline. 

In a complicated transaction, Lehner was first traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Martins Dzierkals, a 22-year-old unsigned draft pick. Lehner and Dzierkals were then traded to Vegas, getting the Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman prospect Slava Demin and Vegas' second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist has drawn attention for talking about how things were handled with the Hawks twice already in the three-day span. 

RELATED - Robin Lehner opens up on getting traded by Blackhawks

After a Knights' practice on Thursday, Lehner was asked if his pending unrestricted free agent status was weighing on him. 

“To be honest, that’s not weighing on my mind," Lehner told Vegas media. "There was other things weighing on my mind. I mean, I haven’t played to my potential the last few weeks and there’s a few things that kind of played into that. 

"I went to Chicago to help them out and got promises of getting a fair chance to play. I came there with a good mindset to fit into the team. I mean, I didn’t play much in the beginning or the middle-beginning of the season, even if I played really well and had a good camp. 

"Eventually I took over and I think I won like nine out of 10, 12 out of 15, and we walked up one point behind a playoff spot. Then all of a sudden, I found myself on the bench for no reason. That was tough. Plus, negotiations had totally died out.” 

Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million free agent contract with the Blackhawks. He and Corey Crawford equally split the net, with Lehner getting the edge in quality performances the first half of the season. 

Crawford had a .939 save percentage from Jan. 15 to the trade deadline. Lehner's was .899 during that span.

“At the end of the day, we’re players playing for our lives and playing for contracts,” Lehner said. “I felt for two years I’ve played really well and I still can’t get something done, and I’m playing well and I can’t play. It hits your motivation part a little bit and I’ve got to do a better job of letting that kind of go away.

“I thought there was a future there and I did everything to get a future there, and I still couldn’t get a future there. In the end, the last couple weeks were tough, mentally, to kind of find a motivation needed.”

Lehner was 16-10-5 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 33 appearances with the Blackhawks.

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