Blackhawks Confidential

Yzerman better pick Seabrook for Team Canada or he'll be asked Y, Y, Y?

seabrookteamcanada.jpgMany Blackhawks fans can't bring themselves to appreciate anyone who wore the Detroit Red Wings colors. The rivalry has been too intense for too long to accord the other guy some credit.

But even the most diehard Chicago supporter has to have grudging respect for Steve Yzerman, one of the classiest men to play in the NHL. Yzerman played the game right for so long that he deserves to be elevated above the Wing-Hawks anomosity and be given his due, allegiances really being beside the point.

Yzerman's reputation will be reconsidered, however, if he chooses to take Duncan Keith for Team Canada's defense and leave Brent Seabrook off the club. That would be plain stupidity and I am willing to believe, until Yzerman proves me wrong, that he ain't that dumb.

Since there are dummies out there, though, it worries me that the Y-man may be influenced by some divergent and misguided viewpoints. Eight members of the Sun Media newspapers in Canada just posted their Team Canada choices, leaving Seabrook off the team and putting Keith on it, of course.

They said Yzerman recently indicated many decisions are already made about Team Canada, although the team won't be announced until later this month. So if he doesn't have Seabrook on that club, I think it's time we point out with a loud shout that he better think twice.

Yo, Stevie. If Team Canada is in the process of deciding the final spot or two, Seabrook better be the one that wins out.

The Sun Media preferred a seven-man defense with Philly's Chris Pronger, Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer, Nashville's Shea Weber, Calgary's Jay Bouwmeester, San Jose's San Boyle, Washington's Mike Green and, lastly, Keith.

"Seabrook is Keith's regular defence partner in Chicago, but that was not grounds enough to convince the panel to include him," wrote Mike Zeisberger about Sun Media's selections.

Right there the thinking is flawed. Seabrook doesn't deserve to make the team because he plays with Keith on the Blackhawks. He should be among the group because he is a physical presence who can make a difference with his keen game instincts and an ability to sway the flow of action on the ice.

It wouldn't hurt anything that Seabrook and Keith already know to play off one another. But that in itself should not be the determining factor.

Seabrook is a plus-8, but statistics don't always tell his story. He is one of the reasons why this Blackhawks defense can roll into Pittsburgh and hold the offensively-powerful Pens to a goal in winning 2-1 last Saturday in overtime.

While Keith and Seabrook have had their occasional defensive letdowns of late, they are the anchors of this defense, along with up-and-coming Nik Hjalmarsson (plus-9). Their play has permitted goalies Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi to have the confidence to hike up individual performances to greater heights than ever before.

The Hawks' players clearly are trusting each other on the ice. That's a product of knowing and believing that the other guy is going to do his job and not leave you hanging. Seabrook has had a major part in developing this important aspect of team chemistry, not to mention a pair of game-winning goals this year that prove he is a clutch performer.

While Patrick Kane is a shoo-in to play for Team USA and Keith and Jonathan Toews locks for Team Canada, Seabrook and Patrick Sharp are the two Hawks uncertain about being on the Team Canada roster.

Sun Media left Sharp off their list as well, but the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan added Sharp to his Team Canada list with an acknowledgement that he would be questioned for it.

"The selection of Sharp may raise eyebrows," he said, "but he's fast, kills penalties and has the potential to score in any manpower situation. On a Blackhawks team lighting it up so far, Sharp is second in points among forwards."

I have no issues with Scanlan's argument, except I don't see Sharp making Team Canada. I believe the forward depth is too substantial and Yzerman will go a different direction.

But he can't leave Seabrook off his team. It's about time the Blackhawks were accorded the national recognition for what they have accomplished last season and this season.

Leaving Seabrook off Team Canada would be a slap in the face to this team's improvements. Seabrook and the Blackhawks should be treated for how well they have advanced as potent threats and as a league powerhouse.

So, as I say, we are willing to believe all good things about the Y-man and his thought processes--unless he decides Seabrook isn't worthy of Team Canada.

That would be just dumb. And, Stevie-Y, we know you're a smart guy. Don't let us down.

Don't make us ask Y, Y, Y?

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6 Comments

Dave Morris said:

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Yo Mikey, as an Indigenous Canadian Hawkey Person (it's strictly PC north of the 49th parallel), sure, I concur with your encapsulation of the situation.

But if the Dunkin-Seabs duo don't find themselves wearing the Maple Leaf Forever during the Olympic Games, OK by me.

Time off to heal those bumps and bruises can't hurt.

But if they do get the call? 'Y' the heck not?

Mike Kiley said:

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To hell with healing. Playing for your country means a lot more. I don't buy that time to rest scenario. Seabrook should be energized by the Olympic experience. The Blackhawks need to be recognized.

Dave Morris said:

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Mister Mike, how can one disagree with such a passionate call to action? I hereby confer upon you Honorary Canadian-ness, Eh.

Plus we buy you a beer when you getcher hiney up here.

HawksFan71 said:

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Your argument, Mike is compelling, but leaves out one question - who becomes the "odd man out" if Seabrook is in? Also, does one not also have to look at Seabs' style of play and how it would adapt to the larger ice surface?

Mike Kiley said:

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The Olympics will be played on the smaller North American surface, not the international size. I don't care who gets bumped, but to me Seabrook deserves the chance and I consider that more than a homer comment, although others won't.

Jerry Kayne said:

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Seabrook may be a competent healthy scratch for the Olympic team. They'll insert him in game 2 after Duncs looks lost without him.

As for Sharp, I hope he gets the honor but those Canadians are pretty deep at all positions. He could prove to be a sleeper. I picture him being to their team as Amonte was to the USA team. But, that's me ... the homer.

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