I will be honest when the Chicago Blackhawks announced late last year that veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook would be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to the fact that he needed to undergo 3 major surgeries, I was among those who thought that we would never see Seabrook lace up his skates in the National Hockey League again.
The 35 year old blue liner had already shown a significant decline in his on ice performance and when you add 3 big surgeries on top of that the future seemed very bleak indeed. That is why I was stunned to learn earlier this month that Seabrook was indeed going to return to the Blackhawks, and even more surprised when I learned that he planned to be on the ice for the start of training camp back on the 13th of July. Seabrook was there however and has been on the ice training with his teammates in preparation for the Stanley Cup Qualifying round and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but despite that we still may not see Seabrook in those playoff games.
Chicago Blackhawks insider Scott Powers has been keeping a close eye on the veteran defenseman during training camp and I think it is fair to suggest that Powers simply does not believe that Seabrook is ready. After watching him during the opening week of camp Powers believes that Seabrook is unable to play at game speed, suggesting that Seabrook is a step slower than his peers out on the ice and adding that Seabrook's movement on the ice looks somewhat unnatural. This should come as relatively little surprise given what we had seen from Seabrook prior to the surgeries, and it makes even more sense when you consider that two of those surgeries were performed on his hips. Seabrook had one procedure on his left hip and another on his right hip, so it will no doubt take time for him to become acclimated again while his body heals.
Powers believes that it is "difficult to envision" Seabrook playing in the Blackhawks opening series against the Edmonton Oilers short of the Blackhawks being desperate for another body on the blue line.