Troy Brouwer was chatting about his Chicago homecoming on Sunday morning, and Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman just couldnt resist.
Hey Brouwer did you play here? You rarely ever talk about it, said Wideman to laughs. Apparently, Brouwer has told plenty of stories about his days with the Blackhawks.
Oh yeah, weve heard about that. Im still hearing about that, said right wing Jay Beagle.
Yes, Brouwer still has a soft spot for Chicago. He kept his home here, sometimes renting it to current Blackhawks -- John Scott lived there before he was traded to New York and still has plenty of friends in the city. And he was feeling that sentimental rush when he hit the United Center ice Sunday morning.
But while Brouwers heart is here, his mind and game are fully focused with the Capitals. Brouwer is nearing 20 goals for the season and has found his niche. Still, its been a topsy-turvy year for Brouwer; the Capitals started strong, then struggled, had a coaching change and are now clinging to eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Its been a pretty decent season (for me). I bounced around a bunch of different lines; its tough to get used to, said Brouwer. But lately Im playing with two solid players (Matt Hendricks and Beagle) and hopefully I can cap it off. But Im just worried about getting into the playoffs now.
Still, hell likely have a little bounce in his step when he plays his old team.
When you come back you always have a little more oomph. But one thing with Troy I dont have to worry about: he has oomph every game, said Washington coach Dale Hunter. Hes a character guy who plays hard for me every night.
Brouwer is comfortable with the Capitals on the ice. Off the ice, hes adjusting better to his new city.
Yeah, Ive got my spots where I like to go for dinner, where the shopping is and stuff like that, he said. It makes it easier when you spend more time there to settle in. But, yeah, Im very comfortable.
Brouwers new teammates had fun joking with him about his old stomping grounds. But they said he also adapted quickly with the Capitals and has been an integral part of their team.
He helps the team get goals with some screens, and a lot of people dont see that because its on the score sheet. But thats a lot of the reason why we put the puck in the net, said linemate Beagle. I didnt think there was any adapting period, really. He had a good, strong presence from the start.