What player wouldn’t want a “demotion” like Troy Brouwer was given. He admittedly wasn’t playing well and hadn’t had a point in seven games, then about a week ago, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made some changes.
“They just put the jerseys in the stall, and they don’t really say much,” Brouwer said in between giving out gifts to kids at Evanston Hospital on Thursday. “They expect you to be a professional about it and play with who you need to play with.”
To his delight, Brouwer was back with Johnathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The three played together much of last season and seemed to have chemistry. With Quenneville trying to find balance on all three lines, reuniting them seemed like the logical thing to do. Still, it’s not what you expect when you’re struggling. Let’s just say Brouwer was pleasantly surprised.
“A little bit because I was slumping. If you get put with those two players, it’s not going to be long before you break out of it,” Brouwer said. “It took me a game and about eight minutes to do it.”
Brouwer took a pass from Toews in the Blues' zone on Wednesday and one-timed it for his eighth of the season. That’s just two off the team lead. He knows he will get more chances with opponents keeping tabs on his skilled linemates.
“You could tell last night [Wednesday] that [Barrett] Jackman was really keying on Kane and Toews, trying to finish his checks there, which really opens up the ice for me and it gives me a little more chance to do things.”
“I played with them for so long last year that I know their tendencies,” Brouwer said. “I love watching those guys play even when I’m not on their line and when you’re on their line, you’re a little bit awestruck sometimes. Tazer was trying to make a move to the middle, and I caught myself watching. They’re pretty easy to play with.”
Brouwer stressed he enjoys playing with everyone on the team but wouldn’t mind settling in for the long haul with the two Hawk stars.
“If we keep playing like we did Wednesday, Joel will have no option but to keep us together,” Brouwer said. “Every time we were out there we feel like we controlled the play.”
They did, and combined for six points, numbers Quenneville has to be thrilled with. Brouwer doesn’t want to take a chance with another “demotion.” He liked this one just fine.
“Who wouldn’t want to play with these guys?” Brouwer said.
Brouwer and Colin Fraser lit up some faces at Evanston Hospital as they passed out gifts to kids.
“Just to be able to spread some joy and see the reactions and expressions of the kids faces when we come in, it’s rewarding in itself,” Brouwer said.
Some even knew that he scored the night before.
“A couple of them actually did. A bunch of them were watching the game,” Brouwer said.
The kids received gifts donated during the Hawks holiday toy drive. Over 500 were delivered to Evanston and passed out.