June 20, 2013

Stanley Cup Notebook: When Seabrook talks, Blackhawks wisely listen

The Associated Press

CHICAGO - Defenseman Brent Seabrook had had enough of hearing about all the good things Jonathan Toews was doing for the Chicago Blackhawks. The bottom line: Their captain wasn't scoring.

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Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook took Jonathan Toews (19) under his wing and the star forward responded with his first goal in 11 games in Wednesday’s win at Boston.

The Associated Press

That finally changed in Wednesday's 6-5 overtime win at Boston.

Toews was one of the six Blackhawks to score, helping Chicago tie the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece. Game 5 is Saturday at the United Center.

"To be completely honest, I was sick and tired of hearing everybody talk about everything that Johnny's doing right," Seabrook said. "He's a great player. He's one of the best in the league, and I just told him that he's got to stop thinking about that, too. He's got to stop thinking about everything that he's doing right and start worrying about not scoring goals. He's got to score goals for us."

Toews had gone 10 games without a goal when he tipped in a shot by Michal Rozsival in the second period. That gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead, and he also had a hand in the game-winner, screening Boston's Tuukka Rask as Seabrook unleashed a slap shot 9:51 into overtime.

That was more like it for Chicago.

Seabrook has given Toews several pep talks during this playoff run, whether he was calming the Blackhawks' star after he collected three penalties against Detroit in Game 4 of their second-round series or demanding more on offense from him.

Demanding might be a strong word. Toews insisted Seabrook was calm and not in his face, but either way, he made his point.

"Let's set it straight here," Toews said. "It was -- not a joke -- but he'd be sitting in the lounge or whatever at the hotel, and he just looked at me and I answered it wrong one time because he just asked me, 'What are you thinking about,' and I was like, 'Nothing; what are you thinking about?' And he looked at me again and I realized what he wanted me to say, and I snapped back and said, 'Scoring goals.' There you go. That was all it was."

NO GOALIE SWITCH: Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville made it clear he's sticking with Corey Crawford in goal and has no intention of going with Ray Emery.

"No, we're very comfortable with Corey," Quenneville said Thursday. "He's the biggest reason why we're here today."

Crawford and Emery shared the William M. Jennings Award while leading Chicago to the best record during the regular season. Chicago allowed a league-low 97 goals in 48 regular-season games and there was even debate over who should be their No. 1 goalie in the postseason.

A late injury to Emery along with Crawford's strong play in the postseason ended that debate. Quenneville did his best to squash it before it got reignited, and it's not hard to see why. Even with a rough outing in Wednesday's 6-5 overtime win, Crawford still has a 1.86 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in the playoffs.

Emery has not appeared in the postseason after going 17-1.

NO BIG DEAL: With or without the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Zdeno Chara on the ice, the Bruins might seem to be bigger and taller than the Blackhawks.

It's an optical illusion.

According to STATS, the average height for both Bruins and Blackhawks players this season is 73.9 inches, or a hair under 6-foot-2. That's almost an inch shorter -- 0.7 inches, to be exact -- than the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers, the tallest teams in the NHL this season.

(Continued on page 2)

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