Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook, 28, always has been a leader.
Maybe it has something to do with being an older brother to Keith, who is four years younger and also a defenceman who played in Italy this past season.
Maybe it has something to do with the way he was raised by his parents Suzanne and Gary. Brent always said his father has been like a second coach to him.
When he was younger other coaches recognized Seabrook's leadership. He was captain of Canada's gold-medal winning under-18 team in 2003 and the Lethbridge Hurricanes in junior.
He may not wear a "C" or an "A" on the front of his Blackhawks sweater, but it doesn't matter. His teammates know is a leader.
Just look at how he has helped his long-time friend, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, this spring.
When Toews snapped in Game 4 of the Blackhawks second-round series against the Detroit Red Wings, it was Seabrook who skated over to calm down Toews who had lost it in the penalty box.
On Wednesday, prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins, Seabrook had a heart-to-heart with his Canadian Olympic teammate in the team lounge at their downtown hotel.
"He just asked me, 'What are you thinking about?' " Toews said in great detail on Thursday. "I was like, 'nothing, what are you thinking about?' And he looked at me again, and I realized what he wanted me to say, and I snapped back and said, 'Scoring goals.' There you go. That was all it was.
"He's been trying to help me out, make me think a little bit better."
"Seabrook, since I've been here, he's one of the guys that doesn't wear a letter but he's definitely a big part of our leadership group," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Even at a young age here, five years going back, he was probably the one voice that you hear a lot in the locker room and probably the most on the bench or around even practice or game time or preparing between periods.
"He always says the right things, and he's a great teammate, a great competitor."
His competitive nature was shaped on the family driveway in Twassassen in the lower mainland of B.C. He had some epic games there on the cement, usually against Keith. The garage door took a beating from shots and bodychecks. It had to be replaced.
He had some outstanding coaches when he was younger, including former Vancouver Canucks Harold Snepts and John Grisdale. He went to play major junior in Lethbridge under former NHL defenceman Bryan Maxwell, who immediately admired Seabrook's character and later made him team captain.
After he was drafted 20th overall by the Blackhawks in 2003, Seabrook returned home in the summer to help organize shinny games for area NHLers, a group that included Bruins forward Milan Lucic, who played Tier II junior with Keith Seabrook with the Coquitlam Express.
Brent Seabrook already had 150 NHL regular-season games of experience when Toews arrived in Chicago. The two were roomates in Toews' rookie season in 2007-08. The other night he was simply trying to help out the younger, 25-year-old Toews, break out of a scoring slump that had seen him score only once in his previous 20 playoff games.
"I was sick and tired of hearing everybody talk about everything that Johnny is not doing right. He's a great player. He's one of the best in the league, and I just told him that he's got to stop thinking about that, too.
'He's got to stop thinking about everything that he's not doing right and stop worrying about not scoring goals. He's got to score goals for us. He's a big part of our team. When he's going, we have a chance to win as well as [Patrick] Kane and [Patrick] Sharp and [Marian] Hossa and [Bryan] Bickell, all our forwards have to be going, and I knew he was going to be playing great.
"It wasn't about the little things that he does. It wasn't about his leadership that he brings. I just thought that maybe he needed to start thinking about scoring goals."
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