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Need a big OT goal? Seabrook's your guy

By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco

RedEye

3:07 PM CDT, June 24, 2013

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His teammates have called him "Mr. Overtime."

Appropriately enough, he earned that nickname after netting the decisive goals in OT in Game 7 against Detroit and in Game 4 in Boston. That makes Seabrook, 28, the fifth defenseman in NHL history to score two overtime goals in one playoff year.

Make no mistake: He has made impressive plays this postseason.

The defenseman, who has racked up 76 hits in 22 playoff games, is a burly player, listed at 6-foot-3 and 221 pounds.

"He's a huge part of our team," teammate Duncan Keith said. "He scored a huge goal for us last game and he scored a huge goal for us in the Detroit series so he's been a big part of our success."

Keith and Seabrook are the dynamic defensive duo who have chemistry on the ice and a deep friendship off. They lived together their first year in the league and now live blocks away from each other in Chicago. They ride together to the rink with Seabrook usually behind the wheel, and much of their conversation centers on hockey.

"You know, definitely now that his wife is pregnant, I've had a boy, you do talk a little bit differently," Keith said. "It's not about where we went the night before or anything like that. It's more we're getting a bit older."

Drafted by the Hawks in 2003, Seabrook is the longest tenured Hawks player, along with Keith. Although he is part of the Hawks' core, Seabrook sometimes flies under the radar among the group that includes Patrick Kane.

"He's been great for us," Kane said. "I think he had a couple ups and downs in the playoffs but he's been huge the whole time as far as scoring big goals and being a big part of our team throughout the whole year. He's a great leader in the room."

And a vocal leader, too.

"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," coach Joel Quenneville said.

"He's always getting the guys going," Captain Jonathan Toews said. "I think that's part of his ritual to get himself going, that he wants to be vocally involved and just get that positive feeling, that excited feeling going for the boys."

Toews, who in his rookie year roomed on the road with Seabrook, said he has a competitive spirit but also looks after his teammates. On one road trip, the two were sitting in the hotel lounge when Seabrook asked what he was thinking about.

"I was like, 'Nothing. What are you thinking about?'" Toews said. "And he looked at me again and I realized what he wanted me to say, and I snapped back and said, 'Scoring goals.' "

Even with all the highlights goals the Hawks have created in the playoffs, Seabrook doesn't take individual credit when fielding questions from dozens of reporters. To him, it doesn't matter if he scores as long as the team wins.

When asked about his playoff game-winning goals this season, he simply said: "They were big goals for our team as a group. Our team fought so hard in both games. I was just, I guess, the lucky one to have it going off my stick."

With a hot stick at this point, his teammates want to get the puck to him. And while fans are on edge during OT, Seabrook finds that time beyond regulation exciting.

"I love overtime. I think it's such a great part of the game, especially in the playoffs when you play until one team scores," he said.

"I grew up loving it, and just to be able to get opportunities and play in games like that, they're a lot of fun, and everything is right on the line. I think I definitely try and raise my game in overtime and try and be better."

lvivanco@tribune.com | @lvivanco

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