Brent Seabrook was absolutely exhausted.
And it wasn't from scoring the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 Wednesday night to propel the Blackhawks past the Red Wings and into a Western Conference showdown against Los Angeles, which begins this weekend at the United Center.
Contact information ( * required )
Nor was it from capping off a long, sloggy series against a longtime rival that proved not only physically draining, but at times, emotionally draining as well for the veteran defenseman.
Neither of those was what had big ol' No. 7 breathing a little heavily as he addressed the swarm of reporters around his locker late on Wednesday night.
"It was a pretty exhausting game," Seabrook admitted, "but I think I was more tired during the celebration -- guys jumping and hitting me in the face, dragging me down, pulling my head down ...
"But it's exciting. You don't get to do that too many times."
And after the way the series with the Red Wings had progressed, from an easy win in the opener to Seabrook seeing his ice time basically cut in half by the time Game 4 rolled around, you had to wonder what kind of role the veteran defenseman would play the rest of the series.
One thing for sure, he wasn't going to take it sitting down.
"I was ticked off at myself, first and foremost," Seabrook admitted Sunday. "I've got to be better and play."
And that's just what he did beginning in Game 5 when he was reunited with longtime defensive partner Duncan Keith and his play improved as the Hawks wins began to pile up.
"Like I said earlier in the series, he's a guy that we need to succeed," Keith said. "he proved that."
Seabrook's game-winner 3:35 into OT came courtesy of a Dave Bolland hit on Gustav Nyquist that sent the puck right to Seabrook, who had nothing but open space ahead of him.
"I didn't realize how far back their defense was," Seabrook said. "I know (Niklas) Kronwall is a great defenseman; he tried to get out there and block it."
The puck appeared to hit off Kronwall's skate and knuckle past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.
"I don't even know if I saw it go in to be honest," Seabrook said. "I just heard the horn blowing and the boys jumping out."
And the scrum lasted for quite a while as the sold out UC joined in the celebration.
"It was a great opportunity for someone in here to step up, and Seabs was the guy, " Patrick Kane said.