Seabrook's injury continues awful week for Chicago


seabrook.jpgThe last week has been a nightmare for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Those ever-present questions about their goaltending reared their ugly head again. The weekend saw the young, talented team blow two third period leads in two days. They are now on a rare three game losing streak after a 4-2 loss against the Ducks that saw more than a few questionable calls by officials (seriously, how could Corey Perry get away with checking Brent Sopel from behind while the puck was in the air … a check that opened things up for Saku Koivu’s game winner?).

Still, those blows are of the temporary sort and are largely emotional.

Longer term problems may come in the form of injuries to their defensemen. As we know, Brian Campbell will miss the rest of the regular season and likely a big chunk (if not all of) the playoffs after Sunday’s hit from Alex Ovechkin. Kim Johnsson has missed the last two games with “an upper body injury.” Now, the Chicago Tribune reports that Brent Seabrook is day-to-day because of an unacceptable hit from James Wisniewski.

Wisniewski – a former member of the Blackhawks – administered the hit soon after Seabrook had hit Corey Perry. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was understandably upset about it. Here’s his quote from a story in the Tribune.

“There are certain hits in a game that are tolerable if you have the puck,” a visibly angry Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “(If) you hit a guy without the puck you can kill a guy. It’s the most dangerous hit in the history of the game. He tried to hurt him. That’s as a bad a hit as you can ever have in the game.”

Seabrook has had concussion problems already this season, so it remains to be seen if he misses a considerable amount of time. ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that defenseman-turned-forward Dustin Bfyuglien moved back to his former position last night, so perhaps the Blackhawks will benefit from not trading the rugged player after all.

Still, if Seabrook misses significant amounts of time, that is two of the team’s top four defensemen, lost in one week. Things are not looking good for the Hawks right now.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.