Brouwer irks Capitals teammates with Blackhawks memories

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Brouwer irks Capitals teammates with Blackhawks memories

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.

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

Bears NFL Draft Preview: Creating WR depth while waiting for Kevin White's emergence

CSNChicago.com Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin goes position-by-position as the Bears approach the 2017 Draft, taking a look at what the Bears have, what they might need, and what draft day and after could have in store. Seventh in a series.

Bears pre-draft situation

Alshon Jeffery is on to Philadelphia after striking a one-year deal with the Eagles. For an offense that has let go of Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and Jay Cutler since the arrival of John Fox and his coaching staff in 2015, the search for replacement firepower has seldom been more urgent.

The splash from Cameron Meredith (14 games, 66 receptions) was a significant bright spot from the dismal '16. Bears are still waiting for some impact — ANY impact — from Kevin White after making him the No. 7 pick of the '15 draft and seeing his two NFL seasons end with broken leg bones. White was leading the Bears with 19 catches through four games last season when he was lost for the year, so some very guarded optimism is allowable.

"Kevin is going to have to step up, stay healthy, and he knows that, and he's motivated," said GM Ryan Pace. "We're excited about a handful of guys and we still have the draft ahead of us, too."

The free-agency addition of Eddie Royal in '15 was intended to bring an immediate infusion of veteran savvy and production at the nickel spot. Both his seasons were gutted by injuries, with a total of 70 receptions, the second-lowest two-year total of his nine-year career. Royal had foot surgery in December and is expected to be released when sufficiently healed.

This offseason was marked by a commitment to upgrading wideout speed, coming in the forms of Markus Wheaton from Pittsburgh and Kendall Wright from Tennessee.

"Markus is a deep threat receiver," Pace said. "[In] 2015 he was Top 10 in reception average. I really like his makeup and his toughness going all the way back to Oregon State, but he's a guy who can really run and gives us that element in our offense that I think that we need, speed. Unfortunately, he had a shoulder injury last year that happened kind of early in the season and then eventually needed surgery on it. But he's fully cleared now and we feel good about that now."

Pre-draft depth-chart'ing starters

WR - Kevin White

WR - Cam Meredith

WR - Markus Wheaton/Kendall Wright

Reserves: Dres Anderson, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Rueben Randle, Eddie Royal, Deonte Thompson

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Bears draft priority: Low/moderate

Names were added to the pool of options but none of the stature of Jeffery, and until the aggregate proves to better than simply average, the Bears will always look to add impact points-producers when the options present themselves. Rarely has their receiver corps had so many unprovens going into a season.

The organization believes White's run of bad luck is due to change and reduced some of the positional urgency with the offseason additions. Wheaton signed a two-year deal, Wright for one year, Meredith has had just one meaningful season and White is a virtual "rookie" for the third straight year.

Pace has drafted a wideout in each of his two drafts, White in '15 and Braverman last year. Braverman played three games without a catch and will be in another intense competition for a roster spot. Best guess would be a late-round wideout with abilities to enhance the return game.

Keep an eye on ...

Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois — Caught 160 passes over two NIU seasons. Fits Bears' template for size (6-4, 218) and had private workout with them.

Jordan Westerkamp, Nebraska — Bears staffed his workout and could find a spot as a practice-squad player able to fill nickel role.

Chad Williams, Grambling — Private workout for Bears, had huge production and may be a value late-round pick for development.

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

5'10" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

103 CAR, 596 YDS, 9 TD | 40 REC, 392 YDS, 4 TD

Projection:

Second round

Scouting Report:

"Ascending, competitive runner who has flashed explosive NFL talent at various times over the last two seasons. A committed runner with excellent balance who finds yardage that isn't blocked for him. While he has never logged 20 carries in a single game, he has the talent to play on all three downs if he can prove his durability." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

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