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After slow start, Blackhawks’ Seabrook picking up pace

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 10:24 a.m. CST

(MCT) — ST. LOUIS — As a team, the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ground running after the NHL lockout ended. For some individuals, such as defenseman Brent Seabrook, it took a while to get into the flow.

In his first nine games, Seabrook was minus-4 with a goal and two assists as he tried to find his footing on the top defensive pairing with Duncan Keith.

“I don’t know if it was just getting back in the swing of things or what it was after a long layoff — we were off for eight months,” Seabrook said. “I felt good coming into training camp and felt I was in good shape. Sometimes the timing is off a little bit, and sometimes you have to get used to playing competitive hockey again.”

In his last 10 games, including the Hawks’ 3-0 victory over the Blues on Thursday night at Scottrade Center, Seabrook is a plus-7 with a goal and four assists.

“I feel like I’ve been playing well,” Seabrook said. “I had a tough start to the season, but lately I’ve been getting up in the play, shooting the puck more and trying to play well defensively.”

Coach Joel Quenneville believes the lockout had an effect on Seabrook.

“He had a so-so start, and then he’s playing the way we expect him to play,” Quenneville said. “Getting back into the pace of the game of the defense ... and catching up to it was part of the process.”

Next? Quenneville said the Hawks did not have a plan if backup goaltender Ray Emery was injured against the Blues after he replaced Corey Crawford (upper-body injury) after the first period.

“We’ve never had to come up with that plan yet,” Quenneville said. “I haven’t seen that ... since I’ve been in the league and I’ve seen a lot of games. That’s maybe something we’ll have to discuss one day in case you do have to go to Plan B or C. I guess that would be C.”

Checking in: Winger Marian Hossa jokingly knocked on his head twice and said, “In that department, I feel pretty good,” when discussing his condition since coming back from an illegal hit to the back of the head by the Canucks’ Jannik Hansen on Feb. 19.

The hit resulted in concussion protocol testing for Hossa.

“I wouldn’t be playing if I felt anything,” he said.

Still out: Center Dave Bolland missed his third consecutive game with what a source said is symptoms related to a concussion. Bolland was injured Feb. 22 against the Sharks.

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