Spellman: Hawks' Seabrook appreciated on, off ice

Even though Brent Seabrook will be making his first All-Star Game appearance next week, don't tell Andrew Shaw that the veteran Blackhawks defenseman is underappreciated.

"Why is everyone saying that?" Shaw asked incredulously. "I don't think he's underappreciated here. He's a great asset, we love having him on our team.

"He does all the little things right in the defensive zone, he blocks shots, has a good stick, chips in offensively, throws big hits, too. I don't think he's ever overlooked here at all."

He certainly wasn't overlooked by the voting public, who selected Seabrook as one of the top-6 - along with teammates Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford - for the All-Star Game in Columbus.

"I've always said it would be nice to get an opportunity to go to one," Seabrook said after practice Wednesday. "But with the amount of talent we have on this team it's tough to get there.

"It's something I'm excited for and grateful for the fans to vote me in - it's exciting."

His teammates are just as pumped for Seabrook, especially after he missed out on playing for Team Canada the year before.

"Last year he was obviously bummed about the Olympic selection," fellow defenseman Johnny Oduya said. "Hopefully this can be a little something that he can get a good feeling from."

But it's not just his play on the ice that has earned Seabrook the respect of his teammates.

"We do have a lot of big-name guys here, but I always look at him as one of the main core guys on this team," Shaw said. "He's a great leader. He says the right things when it's needed."

Regardless if it's a rookie or a 10-year veteran.

"He doesn't let anyone get away with anything," Shaw said. "He's always that guy who's going to call you out, which you need on a team.

"He'll call out the big guys, too, but not in a bad way. He'll be in their ear telling them, 'You've got to do this, you've got to do that.' It's great leadership."

Added Oduya: "He's good in the locker room. He's always in a good mood, trying to get guys going."

Oh, and there's one more thing Seabrook does ..,

"He keeps track of Duncs," a laughing Oduya said of Duncan Keith. "That's a tough job, and he's been doing that for 10 years."

Seabrook is backing up all that leadership and responsibility with some solid numbers at the midway point of the season. He already has 7 goals and 22 points. His career highs are 9 and 48, respectively, so those marks are in jeopardy.

"I'm happy with the way my team game has been," he said. "Just working on consistency and continuing to get better and trying to stay focused for the long haul.

"We've got the fun part of the season coming up."

Follow Mike on Twitter @dhspellman

Brandon Saad, second from left, celebrates with teammates Marian Hossa (81), Andrew Shaw, second from right, and Brent Seabrook after scoring a goal earlier this season. Seabrook, who has 7 goals and 15 assists this season, gets high marks from his teammates for what he does on and off the ice. Associated Press
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