Brouwer's physical presence a game-changer

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Brouwer's physical presence a game-changer

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

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

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.

Briefly

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

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The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.