In spite of hurting his right shoulder against Montreal in one of Chicago’s final games of the season, Blackhawks forward Troy Brouwer is a gamer and will be ready to go against Vancouver in Game 1 tonight.
Hey, it’s the playoffs… If you’re not playing hurt, you’re not trying. Or something. Heading into the playoffs plenty of teams have guys with nicks and bumps and bruises but Brouwer seemed to be dealing with a very painful shoulder injury and being a physical forward with an injury to an important area like that can make life in the playoffs doubly difficult.
CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers gives us the update as to how Brouwer is feeling and just how he’ll fit into the lineup tonight.
“A lot of the guys out there aren’t going to be 100 percent. I’ll just add to that list,” he said. “You want to make sure you can go out and play properly and not be tentative out there. For me, that’s what the decision comes down to. I feel I’m ready to play.”
Brouwer’s shoulder will definitely be tested. He’ll be among several Blackhawks expected to create traffic and obstruct views in front of Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo. Brouwer said he’s ready to do what’s necessary.
“(Luongo’s) been playing well this year and swallowing everything up, making the saves he can see all the time,” Brouwer said. “You need to get traffic in front of him. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”
While Chicago doesn’t have a big body presence like they had in Dustin Byfuglien last year to park in front of Luongo to make his life miserable, Brouwer along with Bryan Bickell and Jake Dowell could end up falling into that role this year. Asking Brouwer to do that dirty work with a wonky shoulder might be tempting fate with his health. After all, it’s not as if Vancouver’s defensemen are wilting flowers out on the ice. They’ll be physical with anyone who might be determined enough to park in front of Luongo.
Still, Brouwer’s fast return might serve to light a fire under the team knowing that they’ve all got to do their part to try and knock off the top seeded Canucks.