Blackhawks

Seabrook out, Bolland in vs. Canucks

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Seabrook out, Bolland in vs. Canucks

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 11:35 a.m. Updated: 12:54 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

A day after Brent Seabrook said he was sore but otherwise fine after taking a shoulder-to-head hit from RaffiTorres, the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman apparently isnt.

Seabrook is out and center Dave Bolland is in as the Blackhawks try to avoid elimination against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the United Center. Neither Seabrook nor Bolland skated this morning with their teammates; Bollands absence was apparently just a morning off.

Joel Quenneville said John Scott could be the Blackhawks sixth defenseman tonight.

Addressing the media yesterday, Seabrook said the rest of his body was feeling the effects of that hit more than his head. But apparently the defensemans health took a turn overnight. Asked if Seabrook was sorer today, Quenneville said we dont disclose everything but sore could mean a lot of things.

WATCH: Raffi Torres' hard hit on Seabrook

Torres, who did not talk to the media again today, is in the Canucks lineup tonight.

Hes a physical, emotional player, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. Hes going to play the same way.

Torres received no supplementary discipline besides the two-minute interference call for the Game 3 hit. Quenneville reiterated today that he felt it shouldve been a major penalty, but he did not question the lack of suspension.

Meanwhile, Bolland has been cleared and is ready to go tonight. Despite the physical nature of this series, Quenneville said Bolland will not be held back.

Watching him skate and practice we think hes been ready to play for a while. It was just a matter of getting him going and getting clearance, he said. He feels good about himself, he feels he can handle the responsibility and hes going to get some as well.

Bolland frustrated the Canucks last postseason, specifically Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Its been the same way all year. We have a lot of guys (jabbing at) us. Its something to live with, Henrik Sedin said. You havent seen (that frustration) from us this year.

Bryan Bickell and Ryan Johnson are also in for the Blackhawks tonight. TomasKopecky is out.

Thoughts of Flyers

The Blackhawks are facing the daunting 0-3 hole in a playoff series but they look at what Philadelphia did last postseason and realize theres always a chance. The Flyers were down 3-0 to Boston in their conference semifinals last year before winning that series.

Its easy to think that it is possible, seeing it happened last year, Jonathan Toews said. Its not thinking about winning four games in a row, were thinking about winning tonight. Well see after that.

WATCH: Jeremy Roenick and Hockey Central crew preview Game 4, what do Blackhawks need to do?

Quenneville said well look at the smaller picture, play good consecutive shifts. We havent been our best this series. Weve progressed in games but there is still a level we havent gotten to yet.

No Calder for Crawford

Despite winning 33 games in 57 appearances this season, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was not a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHLs best rookie.

Crawford, however, wasnt too upset thats the least of my worries right now, he said. Still, teammates were surprised he wasnt among the top three.

He definitely deserves it, Toews said. I guess it shows there are a lot of great young players this year because he had a heck of a year. Without him, who knows if wed be this far. He stepped up, especially when we needed him.

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

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.

The Cubs are in a way better spot than they were a year ago

The Cubs are in a way better spot than they were a year ago

ST. LOUIS — It's night and day watching the 2018 Cubs compared to the 2017 version.

Even with the injury to Javy Baez Sunday night, the Cubs are in a way better spot now than they were a year ago.

On June 17 of last season, the Cubs sat at 33-34 with a run differential of just +6.

They looked flat more often than not. "Hangover" was the word thrown around most and it was true — the Cubs really did have a World Series hangover.

They admit that freely and it's also totally understandable. Not only did they win one of the most mentally and physically draining World Series in history, but they also ended a 108-year championship drought and the weight of that accomplishment was simply staggering. 

The 2018 iteration of the Cubs are completely different. 

Even though they didn't finish off the sweep of their division rivals in St. Louis Sunday night, they're still only a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and for the best record in the league. A +95 run differential paced the NL and sat behind only the Houston Astros (+157), Boston Red Sox (+102) and New York Yankees (+98) in the AL.

Through 67 games, the Cubs sat at 40-27, 13 games above .500 compared to a game below .500 at the same point last summer.

What's been the main difference?

"Energy," Joe Maddon said simply. "Coming off the World Series, it was really hard to get us kickstarted. It was just different. I thought the fatigue generated from the previous two years, playing that deeply into the year. A lot of young guys on the team last year.

"We just could not get it kickstarted. This year, came out of camp with a fresher attitude. Not like we've been killing it to this point; we've been doing a lot better, but I didn't even realize that's the difference between last year and this year.

"If anything, I would just pinpoint it on energy."

Of course the physical component is easy to see. The Cubs played past Halloweeen in 2016 and then had so many demands for street namings and talk shows and TV appearances and Disney World and on and on. That would leave anybody exhausted with such a shortened offseason.

There's also the mental component. The Cubs came into 2018 with a chip on their shoulder after running into a wall in the NLCS last fall against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have a renewed focus and intensity.

But there's still plenty of room for more. The Cubs aren't happy with the best record and run differential in the NL. They know they still haven't fully hit their stride yet, even amidst a 24-13 stretch over the last five weeks.

"I think we've been pretty consistent," Jon Lester said. "We've had some ups and downs on both sides of the ball as far as pitching and hitting. But the biggest thing is our bullpen and our defense has been pretty solid all year.

"That's kept us in those games. When we do lose — you're gonna have the anomalies every once in a while and get blown out — we're in every single game. It's all we can do. Keep grinding it out.

"Our offense will be fine. Our defense and the back end of our bullpen has done an unbelievable job of keeping us in these games. And if we contribute as a starting five, even better. 

"You have the games where our guys get feeling sexy about themselves and score some runs. That's where the snowball effect and we get on that little bit of a run. I feel like we've been on a few runs, it just hasn't been an extended period of time. I don't have any concerns as far as inside this clubhouse."

Lester hit the nail on the head. The Cubs sit at this point with only 1 win from Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood struggling with command and low power numbers from several guys including Kris Bryant.

Throw in the fact that Joe Maddon's Cubs teams always seem to get into a groove in August and September when they're fresher and "friskier" than the rest of the league and this team is currently in very good shape for the remainder of the year. 

If they can get 3 wins away from the World Series after going 33-34, the sky should be the limit for a 2018 squad that's in a much better position 67 games in.