On Friday, during a very candid Zoom video conference call with Blackhawks media, Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook announced that he would not be traveling with the team to Edmonton for the NHL's 24-team postseason.
The three-time Stanley Cup champ fully participated in the Hawks' Phase 3 training camp in Chicago from July 13-25. He hadn't been with the team since
a morning skate on December 18 ahead of a game at the United Center against the Colorado Avalanche. Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the contest then stayed in Chicago to undergo medical evaluation when the Hawks traveled to Winnipeg the next day.
The 35-year-old blueliner then underwent a right-shoulder surgery later in December and separate hip surgeries in January and February. According to the longtime Blackhawks alternate captain, the injuries that required surgery noticeably affected his quality of life for a considerable amount of time before the procedures.
"My shoulder, it was probably hard to sleep for five years," Seabrook said. "Sleeping was a challenge. I hurt my shoulder when I was 18 in the World Juniors and I got a second opinion, actually, and Dr. Terry got me hooked up with a doctor in Winnipeg, and he was my doctor when I hurt it in Winnipeg with the World Junior team.
"Dr. Terry, our decision was to strengthen it, and we could get 10 good years out of it, so that's what I did. And we ended up getting 15. Don't know how many of those were good, but we got 15 years out of it and it progressively got worse.
"I haven't been able to throw a baseball or football for a long time. Sleeping on it's been tough. We did an MRI, and there were definitely some issues that Dr. Terry could see. The alarming thing to me was there were two separate issues that he couldn't tell me if they could be fixed until he was in my shoulder. That was alarming and he ended up fixing one and leaving the other one alone. Just cleaning it up and with the hips, I've had trouble with my back for a long time, getting out of bed, probably more information than you need, trying to sit on a toilet, things like that. Playing with the kids it was just hard to get on the ground, and that's been going on for 5-10 years. When we decided to do the shoulder, I asked them to fix my back, too. He said let's look at the hips first and go from there. They looked at the hips, he figured there was some stuff we could do to alleviate a lot of that pressure and stress."
Seabrook is feeling rejuvenated after rehabbing from the surgeries and is looking forward to joining the Blackhawks in next season's training camp.
"I feel incredible. I feel like I've been able to get up out of bed. It's been actually really weird the last two or three months when I get up out of bed. It's been in my head a lot, remembering how hard it was to do certain things and not having to do that anymore. I still catch myself not wanting to do something too quick because I still remember that. Now it's just been incredible. Getting down and helping my kids tie their shoes has been nice. Tying my own shoes has been nice, putting on a sock, getting out of bed. I've been happy with the decisions that I've made, and I couldn't have asked for a better surgeon and the help he's given me through this and the guidance has been great."
Despite being able to participate in summer camp, Seabrook didn't feel he was ready for postseason hockey yet and didn't want to take a roster spot from another player.
How bad were Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook's injuries? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago