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.
The National Hockey League has suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw for three preseason games for boarding defenseman Connor Hobbs of the Washington Capitals in an exhibition game Tuesday.
Shaw was given a major penalty and a game misconduct on the play, as he slammed Hobbs “through the numbers, with speed” from behind into the end glass, as per Thursday’s video from the NHL outlining the suspension.
From the video: “It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play. From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs’ numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one.
“The onus is on Shaw to ensure that he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force, or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass.”
In a bid to land a gritty forward to their lineup, the Habs acquired Shaw from the Blackhawks, who had been dealing with a cap crunch, during the NHL Draft. He later signed a six-year contract extension with Montreal.
Clarke MacArthur suffered yet another concussion after being hit by Patrick Sieloff during a scrimmage over the weekend, but the veteran Ottawa Senators forward doesn’t plan on retiring.
Last season, the 31-year-old MacArthur played in only four games for the Senators due to concussions. According to the Ottawa Sun, he suffered four concussions in an 18th-month span.
Despite this latest concussion, MacArthur is still, at least publicly, planning to work toward a return to game action, saying in a post on Instagram that he was “encouraged” by how his body has reacted following this most recent incident.
“First off, I want to thank the team and its fans for all the support after the unfortunate incident on Sunday. To me, it was simply a hockey play that ended in a hit causing me to suffer a concussion, a play that could happen at any point,” MacArthur wrote on his social media page.
“We have been encouraged by how my body had reacted in the days since the injury and the team has been great to give me all the time I need to rest and recover. I will continue to consult with doctors and my entire support group, but I felt it important to let everyone know that my intentions are to work towards returning to the ice soon.”
Senators focus on MacArthur’s safety
You couldn’t blame the Blues for freaking out a bit today when Jaden Schwartz left practice after an apparent hand injury, and didn’t return.
It was last October, of course, when Schwartz fractured his ankle during practice, an injury that required surgery and sidelined him for 49 games.
Thankfully for St. Louis, it won’t be deja vu.
From the Post-Dispatch:
Coach Ken Hitchcock said Schwartz was fine but would miss some practice.
“He’ll need a couple days off, but he’s a lot like Fabbri,” Hitchcock said. “He’s probably not going to skate this weekend in any of the games but he’ll be ready to go next weekend.
“He’s day to day. He’ll be fine.”
Signed to a five-year, $26.75 million extension this summer, Schwartz will be a big piece of the Blues moving forward.
He’s coming off a good playoff run — 14 points in 20 games — and the club is hopeful he can build on the goalscoring form shown in ’13-14 (25 tallies) and ’14-15 (a career-high 28).
Nikita Kucherov will not report to Tampa Bay Lightning training camp until he’s signed. The 23-year-old winger is not currently under contract, though as a restricted free agent he is partially under club control.
From the Tampa Bay Times, which confirmed through GM Steve Yzerman that Kucherov would not be reporting:
Kucherov, the team’s leading scorer last season, could warrant $6 million or more annually. And that makes it difficult for the Lightning, which has between $5-5.5 million of cap space remaining, per CapFriendly.com. It begs the question whether Tampa Bay may need to make another move to create room. With the season opening two weeks from today, no deal appears imminent.
Yzerman said earlier in the month that he can get Kucherov signed without making a trade, but as mentioned, no deal has been reached yet.
Kucherov is one of a handful of high-profile RFAs who remain unsigned as the regular season approaches. The others are Johnny Gaudreau, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jacob Trouba, Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, and Tobias Rieder, the latter of whom requested a trade yesterday.
Trouba has also requested a trade.
Related: Ristolainen, still without a contract, makes ‘good will’ gesture towards Sabres