Brent Seabrook

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The Buzzer: Blackhawks, Golden Knights cruise; Sundqvist fined

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Three Stars

1. Kirby Dach, Blackhawks

It was quite the night for the rookie forward during Chicago’s 4-1 win over the Sabres. Dach became the third 18-year-old in franchise history to record a multi-goal game, joining Eddie Olczyk and Patrick Kane. Per the NHL, he’s also the fourth different 18-year-old in franchise history to record a point streak of four-plus games. Also, Kane scored his 11th of the year to extend his points streak to nine games.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, Golden Knights

Vegas snapped its five-game losing streak in a big way Sunday night. Fleury posted 34 saves and his teammates provided six goals during a shutout of the Flames. It was Fleury’s second shutout of the season and 58th of his career.

3. William Karlsson, Golden Knights

Karlsson had a hand in a four-goal third period for Vegas scoring his second of the game and assisting on Max Pacioretty‘s eighth of the season. The Swedish forward has been on fire of late and now has four goals and seven points in his last three games. According to the NHL, his 75 goals with Vegas is now tied for the eighth-most by a player through a modern-era franchise’s first 200 all-time regular-season games.

Highlights of the Night

• Where there’s an annoyed goaltender, you can probably assume Matthew Tkachuk is in the area. Just ask Fleury:

• There’s never a bad time to have a dog on the ice:

Sundqvist fined

Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist was fined $7,392.47, the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, for charging Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson Saturday night.

Factoids of the Night

Brent Seabrook skated in his 1,100th NHL game on Sunday. He’s second in games played for the Blackhawks behind Stan Mikita (1,394).

Goalies optional in Sudbury

Wild game in the OHL Sunday night with the Hamilton Bulldogs topping the Sudbury Wolves in overtime 11-10. Yes, you read that right.

Scores
Golden Knights 6, Flames 0
Blackhawks 4, Sabres 1

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

PHT Morning Skate: Are Bruins best team? Seabrook’s difficult situation

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Capitals are allowing themselves to be inspired by the World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals. (NHL)

• Joe Haggerty argues that the Boston Bruins are the best team in the NHL. (NBC Sports Boston)

Joel Armia always had potential, but he’s finally starting to produce. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)

• The Devils’ goaltending is a problem, but it should get better in the near future. (All About the Jersey)

• There’s still a lot of uncertainty regarding Nolan Patrick‘s health. (NBC Sports Philly)

Mitch Marner is confident that his production will start increasing sooner than later. (Toronto Star)

• Who will the Pens use their cap space on? (Pensburgh)

• Veteran Brent Seabrook is currently in a tough situation with the Chicago Blackhawks. (Chicago Sun-Times)

• Here are three St. Louis Blues that can step up to fill the void left by Vladimir Tarasenko. (St. Louis Game-Time)

Troy Terry‘s been playing some better hockey for the Anaheim Ducks. (Anaheim Calling)

• Now that Nate Schmidt is back in the Golden Knights lineup, that should allow Shea Theodore to produce more offense. (Sinbin.Vegas)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Blackhawks call up Boqvist as youth movement continues

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Just a couple of days after making it clear that forward Kirby Dach, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, would be sticking with the Chicago Blackhawks the team announced it is turning to another of its top young players.

The Blackhawks announced on Thursday that they have recalled defenseman Adam Boqvist from Rockford of the American Hockey League. Boqvist, 19, was the No. 8 overall pick by the team in 2018 and is playing in his first season of professional hockey and just scored his first AHL goal on Wednesday night. He spent his draft year playing for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League and put together a monster season offensively with 20 goals and 40 assists in 54 games.

This is an interesting move because it means the Blackhawks now have eight defensemen on their active roster (and that does not count Connor Murphy, who is currently on the long-term injured list). It does not seem logical to think they would call-up one of their top prospects and not play him (it does him no good to sit and not play) so Blackhawks fans should be getting a pretty good glimpse of their future with Boqvist and Dach in the lineup.

Defense is once again a problem spot in Chicago this season while the team is already dealing with the tricky situation that is Brent Seabrook‘s current role, having made him a healthy scratch in each of the past two games.

The Blackhawks have won just three of their first 11 games this season and are giving up close to three-and-a-half goals per game. Unless something drastic happens here shortly it seems that they could be on a path for a third consecutive non-playoff season.

Related: It looks like Dach is staying with Blackhawks

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Our Line Starts podcast: Josi’s extension; Ovechkin’s comments to Maple Leafs

Patrick Sharp makes his podcast debut along with Kathryn Tappen and Keith Jones. They discuss the pros and cons of Roman Josi’s massive extension, whether Alex Ovechkin hit a nerve with his comments about the Leafs, and the recent trend of veteran players getting healthy scratched. Pierre McGuire sits down with Lightning GM Julien BriseBois, who has an interesting story about how he ended up working in sports. And finally, Jones and Sharp tell their best Halloween stories, including a certain player in Dallas practicing in his Conan O’Brien costume from the night before.

0:00-1:50 Intros
1:50-6:20 Roman Josi‘s massive extension
6:20-13:20 Alex Ovechkin comments on the Leafs; Mike Babcock agrees
13:20-18:50 What’s up with the rise in “trick goals” throughout the league?
18:50-26:20 Brent Seabrook headlines group of veterans being healthy scratched
26:20-46:55 Pierre McGuire interviews Lightning GM Julien BriseBois
46:55-End Jones and Sharp tell their best Halloween stories

Our Line Starts is part of NBC Sports’ growing roster of podcasts spanning the NFL, Premier League, NASCAR, and much more. The new weekly podcast, which will publish Wednesdays, will highlight the top stories of the league, including behind-the-scenes content and interviews conducted by NBC Sports’ NHL commentators.

Where you can listen:

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1482681517

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/nbc-sports/our-line-starts

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/7cDMHBg6NJkQDGe4KHu4iO?si=9BmcLtutTFmhRrNNcMqfgQ

NBC Sports on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports

Blackhawks, Seabrook at a crossroads

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For the second game in a row the Chicago Blackhawks will be making veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook a healthy scratch when they travel to Nashville to face the Predators on Tuesday night.

After getting blown out by the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday — at the time their fourth loss in a row — the Blackhawks decided to make a couple of lineup changes for Sunday, including the scratching of Seabrook. That new-look lineup produced a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, and in traditional NHL coaching form Jeremy Colliton is returning with the same lineup on Tuesday (because it won).

That is a decision that does not seem to be sitting well with Seabrook who still strongly believes he has something to offer the Blackhawks.

Or someone else.

NBC Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis wrote about Seabrook’s frustration on Tuesday, including this segment that seemed to really highlight his feelings on his play and current role.

“I don’t think I need rest,” Seabrook said. “I think I feel great. I’m 34, you guys seem to want to write articles about my age and my speed. I feel like I still got a lot to offer in this league and still be a good player for somebody. I’m just going to try and do my thing out here … try to work hard and get back in the lineup when I can, if I can and just try and be a good teammate.”

That “for somebody” line is the one that will obviously stand out because, well, “somebody” could mean a team that isn’t the Blackhawks.

Seabrook’s initial healthy scratch was framed by Colliton as him trying to give the veteran a rest in the second half of a back-to-back. But with the Blackhawks coming off an off-day and not playing as part a back-to-back on Tuesday that explanation no longer makes much sense. Colliton said on Tuesday that Seabrook is going to get his chance again and that he still feels he can help them win. But the current actions speak louder than words, because not only is he a healthy scratch again, he was only playing a career low 16 minutes per game this season.

This is a tough situation because to balance a fine line between loyalty and respect for a once great player that has meant a ton to the organization, and doing what is best for the team right now and in the future.

Seabrook was a key cog in three Stanley Cup winning teams, and at his best he was a workhorse on the blue line that shut down opposing top line players and scored some monumental goals for the team (including a series-clinching goal in double overtime to send the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup Final). He has played more than 1,000 games for the team and helped the Blackhawks go from a doormat when he first arrived to one of the most successful teams of the era. That commands a ton respect, and there is no denying that a player like Seabrook — or any player at this level, for that matter — is going to take pride in their game and still believe they can contribute until they literally can not physically do it anymore.

The harsh reality — and as much as Seabrook might get tired of hearing it — is that he is not the same player he once was and his on-ice performance has consistently regressed the past few years, and there is plenty of objective data to illustrate that steady decline (shot attempts, scoring chances, goals). The NHL has become a younger, faster game and every team wants defenders that can skate and move the puck. That is simply no longer Seabrook’s strength, and with the Blackhawks missing the playoffs in each of the past two years and in danger of doing so again in third consecutive year barring a major change in their play, you can’t really fault them for wanting to look for new solutions. They need to find new solutions.

For as important as Seabrook was to the Blackhawks’ recent past, he is probably not going to be a meaningful part of their future. What is going to make this situation even more awkward is Seabrook not only has a no-trade clause in his contract — meaning he ultimately dictates when and where he goes — but he still has four more year after this one remaining on his contract with an annual $6.875 million salary cap hit. The number of teams that would be willing or able to take on such a deal for a 34-year-old defender is small, and would probably require an equal contract coming back the other way.

The Blackhawks’ fall from the top of the NHL’s mountain has been swift and unforgiving, and there is plenty of reason to be concerned about where they go from here. Adding to the on-ice struggles is a now uncomfortable situation between the team and one of its all-time great defenders regarding what he can still do and how much he can still offer.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.