As the Chicago Blackhawks enter game four they find themselves in a deep hole down three games to none against the number one-seeded Vancouver Canucks and today their hopes at a comeback took a major shot as top defenseman Brent Seabrook has been ruled out for the game.
It was announced Tuesday morning that the ‘Hawks would be without Seabrook due to an upper body injury, likely sustained from the head hit he took from the Canucks Raffi Torres during game three. This news deals a major blow to the ‘Hawks as for much of the series the ‘Hawks leaned on Seabrook to defend against the Canucks top line, along with his defense partner Duncan Keith.
The player who will likely get the call to jump into Seabrook’s spot is rookie defenseman Nick Leddy who has spent parts of the season paired with Keith and will likely see a lot of the Sedins tonight. It is a major burden to place on such a young defenseman but Leddy has proved he is up for the challenge and is providing the youngster with valuable experience against top playoff talent.
The ‘Hawks are also going to be bringing big John Scott into the lineup as the ‘Hawks sixth defenseman but will likely be used in limited minutes due to his lack of mobility. It is likely that Keith, Leddy, Nik Hjalmarsson, Brian Campbell and Chris Campoli will get the bulk of the minutes of the back-end.
As Seabrook leaves the lineup the ‘Hawks get a few regular forwards back as Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell, and Ryan Johnson will all be back in for game four. All three had been hampered by injuries and Bolland is making his first appearance in the lineup since March 11th.
The ‘Hawks will get a big boost getting Bolland, Bickell and Johnson but will the absence of one of their top defenseman negate that positive boost or will it provide the ‘Hawks with a rallying point. Blackhawk fans hope it is the latter but it seems more likely tonight will be the defending champs final hurrah.