The Chicago Blackhawks are struggling, one loss away from elimination in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This isn’t where many people thought the 2013 Presidents’ Trophy winners would be at this point in the spring.
Jonathan Toews isn’t playing like the Jonathan Toews of old. And what has happened to Brent Seabrook, the Blackhawks’ 28-year-old right-handed defenseman?
He’s seen reduced ice time as this Western Conference semifinal series with the Detroit Red Wings has gone one. In Game 4, he played only 12 minutes and three seconds.
That’s down from Game 3, when he played 17:57. The game before that: 18:28.
Look a little further to the left, and there are a lot of negative numbers building in the plus-minus column.
He’s a minus-five in this series, which has the Blackhawks down 3-1. The drop in ice time, based on the coach’s comments, seems in direct connection with his drop in play.
“Usually it’s reflection of your performance and your contribution,’’ Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Sometimes your minutes are higher than others in games or stretches of games.
‘’But at the same time, we want to make sure everybody’s got confidence. And we want to make sure their importance to the team is something that … getting everybody going is part of it as well. So sometimes, it’s earned. And sometimes there’s hope to get more, too. We’ll see.’’
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
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Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
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