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Practice Update: Seabrook speaks; Shaw, Smith also to LTIR

Some other news items from a busy Friday in the Blackhawks world.

Buffalo Sabres v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Three-time Stanley Cup winning defensemen Brent Seabrook spoke to the press on Friday morning after the announcement that his hockey career was over. It was as emotional as you’d expect from a player who put his heart and soul into playing hockey for 15 years and helped champion a team to three Stanley Cups but whose body just couldn’t continue.

A true warrior, Seabrook underwent three surgeries between December 2019 and February 2020 on both hips and his right shoulder trying to make it back onto the ice. Despite initial hopes, the surgeries were not successful enough for Seabrook to continue his playing career.

“I skated with the taxi squad Saturday morning. It was tough, it was hard to keep up. I’d been skating for 3 weeks...and it would lock up and I couldn’t push or pivot or turn. Talking to Dr. Terry on Sat night, it confirmed what he already knew a month ago. I felt the best I’d ever felt coming into the training camp for the bubble... I felt incredible, I felt awesome. Skating and training. It was the Monday before Christmas, I woke up and I couldn’t walk. And it’s been like that ever since... I told my body to screw off for 15 years, and it finally turned around and told me, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore.’”

Seabrook said he’d miss his teammates and the Blackhawks staff the most, but that his focus now was on being healthy enough to live a great life with his kids. He also had nothing but glowing positives to describe his career with the Blackhawks and the fans of the team.

The Blackhawks announced Seabrook would be placed on long-term injury reserve along with Andrew Shaw and Zack Smith.

Andrew Shaw has been in concussion protocol since Feb. 9. General Manager Stan Bowman said once Shaw starts feeling better, the team doctors will determine if it’ll be possible for him to return to play. Shaw is on his second stint with the Blackhawks and has six points (2 G, 4 A) in 14 games this season.

Smith has not played since Feb. 12, 2020 after sustaining a back injury. The forward was waived in the hopes of assigning him to either the taxi squad or Rockford IceHogs, but his back injury prevented that.

Speaking of the IceHogs, they announced the signing of goaltender Ivan Nalimov to an AHL contract for the 2020-21 season. The IceHogs have struggled in net this season — only one (Cale Morris) of their five goaltenders to play a game this season has over a .900 save percentage — so it doesn’t hurt to give an opportunity to another goalie.

Drafted in the sixth round (No. 179 overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Nalimov has spent the last seven seasons. He has a .877 save percentage in 14 games this season in the KHL after a .911 save percentage in 24 games last season. There was much excitement about Nalimov after his breakout season in 2017-18 season when he has a .938 save percentage, but he’s been unable to replicate that success since.

The Blackhawks play the Tampa Bay Lighting again Friday. No lineup changes are expected except that Malcolm Subban will start.