Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks

Seabrook’s lack of ice time a ‘reflection of performance’


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.’’

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.

On a new contract, Avs don’t dress Stuart in opener

DENVER, CO - MARCH 14:  Brad Stuart #17 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as he skates against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on March 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Flames 3-2.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.

“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”

Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.

The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.