NASHVILLE—The last time Brent Seabrook was in this city of non-stop country music, he was pulling a Blackhawks jersey over his head after being selected 14th in the first round of June's entry draft.
A little more than three months later, Seabrook, 18, returned to the Gaylord Entertainment Center and played in his first professional game, Saturday's 2-2 exhibition tie between the Hawks and the Nashville Predators.
"It's been an eye-opening experience," Seabrook said after logging 16 minutes 4 seconds of ice time. "During pregame warmups, I had a big smile on my face. I never imagined I would be playing in the NHL." Seabrook's NHL career will be put on hold temporarily when he is returned to Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League this week.
He was part of a lineup that was much different from the one that had been shut out 5-0 by Nashville on Friday night at the United Center. Coach Brian Sutter had an entirely different 20-man roster that, while it may not have had as much skill as the one on the ice Friday, certainly had more grit and determination.
"The skill we had tonight, that's an intangible that should be first and foremost," Sutter said.
Igor Radulov scored his first goal of the preseason at 9:50 of the third period to tie the game. Brett McLean had given the Hawks the lead with a power-play goal five minutes into the second period. Steve Sullivan assisted on both goals.
Defenseman Lasse Kukkonen, winger Ville Nieminen and center Scott Nichol also made their Hawks debuts.
Nichol had the kind of game the Hawks hope to get out of him on a nightly basis. If he does nothing else, his faceoff ability will be welcome. He won 16-of-20 draws and stuck his nose into every scrum.