Brouwer's physical presence a game-changer


Brouwer's physical presence a game-changer

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
2:47 p.m.

By Tracey Myers

COLUMBUS, Ohio Troy Brouwer was ready to drop the gloves after watching Mark Methot land a hit on Patrick Kane on Tuesday night.

They were starting to get a little momentum, scoring chances, a power play or two, Brouwer said. We needed something to make sure we could hold on to that game.

It wasnt a lengthy fight, or one of those where one or both combatants end up bruised and bloodied. Brouwer just stood up for a teammate, took a few whacks and got the Blackhawks focus back where it needed to be.

Brouwers supplied a bulk of the Blackhawks physical presence this season, mainly with hits. Hes been a protector of sorts for linemates Jonathan Toews and Kane, dishing out punishment in the hopes that those two dont have to take any.

Coach Joel Quenneville said his fight with Methot was a timely one.

I thought it was perfect how the whole situation played out; he handled himself well, Quenneville said. But I still think he makes his presence gong to the net, being physical. He compliments the two guys hes working with and he did what he had to do as well.

Brouwer said he asked Methot ahead of time.

He looked a little bit surprised but he was wiling and ready, he said. It was a good, clean fight.

Brouwer isnt really known as a fighter. His one on Tuesday was just his second this season. He recognizes theres a time to drop them and a time to just walk away.

You cant be running after guys all the time, Brouwer said. It happens once in a while. After every hit, I dont know. It depends on who the player is, stuff like that. I guess you just make sure (some hits) wont be tolerated.

Keiths offense

Duncan Keiths goal on Tuesday was just his first in the last 15 games, but it couldnt have come at a better time. The Blackhawks were in the closing seconds of a lengthy 5-on-3 power play which wasnt producing much pressure or many shots.

Its nice to score on the 5 on 3, because it wasnt looking so hot, Quenneville said. A lot of times thats the difference in the game and it was a big one. Whether its his offensive part of game or his speed, it helps the whole game.


Jake Dowell did not practice on Wednesday after blocking a shot off his ankle. Quenneville said he should be OK.

Quenneville said he hasnt decided yet whether Marty Turco or Corey Crawford will start against Vancouver on Friday night.

The Blackhawks plan to practice in Vancouver on Thursday afternoon.

Tracey Myers is's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

PHOTOS: Blackhawks hit the road sporting Cubs attire

PHOTOS: Blackhawks hit the road sporting Cubs attire

The Blackhawks hit the road on Thursday, and they did so in style.

In support of the Cubs participating in the World Series for the first time since 1945, each member of the Blackhawks sported a Cubs jersey and World Series hat as they hopped onto the plane and traveled to New Jersey.

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It may not have been as whacky as Joe Maddon's themed road trips, but it's still a perfect excuse for breaking the dress code just this once.

Check out the photos below:

Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

When coach Joel Quenneville has put Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together it’s usually been during the postseason.

It’s rare when it happens in the regular season and when it does, it seems like an in-case-of-emergency move. But in this case, it may be more of a get-the-captain’s-production-going move.

The Blackhawks made a few more line changes on Thursday, including combining Toews and Kane, as they prepared for Friday night’s game at the New Jersey Devils. Marian Hossa moved to right wing on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Marcus Kruger and Nick Schmaltz flip-flopped as third- and fourth-line centers. Tyler Motte and Ryan Hartman were the third-line wings while Dennis Rasmussen and Jordin Tootoo were on the fourth line.

Coach Joel Quenneville said the line changes, including Kane’s move to the first line, were because the Blackhawks continue to look for balance. To a point, that’s true; the Blackhawks still haven’t come close to getting that four-line rotation with which they’ve found so much success. But considering how successful the Toews and Kane combination has been for each, you’d have to think it’s to help bolster Toews’ point totals. Toews has just two assists through the first seven games.

“Right now I think Jonny, his production isn’t where you look at his play – we still always like the way he plays, he’s so useful in so any different ways,” Quenneville said. “I think maybe we get more balance on both lines. We’ve been trying a number of different looks in our top two groups there. over seven games we still need to be better in a lot of ways. hopefully we can find it.”

Still, if you can get your top players producing points, it’s worth a try. And Kane and Toews, regardless of how long they’ve been apart, usually click immediately upon reuniting.

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“Yeah, I guess change can be good in this sense. We can probably produce a little bit more offense and have the puck a little bit more throughout the game,” Kane said. “I’ve played with Jonny a bunch before. Obviously, not as much lately. But I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a fun way to play hockey. Obviously he’s one of the best players in the game, and probably in my mind, the easiest player to play with. It’ll be fun to get back out there with him and try to create something, try to produce and have some fun with it.”

As for that usual second line of Panarin, Anisimov and Kane, remember: as we’ve seen before, it can be put together again fast.

“They get a lot of shifts and a lot of looks. It’s not like we’re too far away from going back to it at any time. It’s always close and available,” Quenneville said. “Maybe we get more balance and a little more scoring across the board.”


- Defenseman Gustav Forsling (upper body) did not skate on Thursday and will not travel to New Jersey. Quenneville is still hoping Forsling can play on Sunday vs. the Los Angeles Kings.

- Forward Andrew Desjardins (lower body) continues to improve. Quenneville said Desjardins could be skating in the next day or so.

- Corey Crawford will start vs. the Devils.