VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Hawks got some good news Wednesday when winger Troy Brouwer was declared ready and in Game 1 of their first-round series with the rival Canucks.
Brouwer missed the last three games after spraining his right shoulder when he missed a check on the Montreal Canadiens’ Lars Eller and flew into the boards on April 5.
“You just have to deal with the pain a bit and go from there,” Brouwer said. “If you can handle it then you can go. For me, I’ve been able to have a pretty quick recovery. I feel good. I wouldn’t put myself in a situation where I could get hurt further.”
Coach Joel Quenneville felt Brouwer was on the verge of breaking out of his 22-game goal drought before his injury. Quenneville did not announce who will be a scratch with Brouwer back in the lineup, but rookie Ben Smith and veteran Fernando Pisani look like options.
Against the Canucks, Brouwer knows where he’ll be counted on.
“I’m going to be one of the those guys that’s in front [goalie Roberto Luongo], trying to make it where he can’t see too many pucks and squeaking in rebounds,” Brouwer said. “He’s been playing real well this year, swallowing everything up and making those saves he can see all the time. The way you have to beat him is getting traffic in front of him. We’re going to try to get some traffic in front of him and get shots to the net.”
Standing in front of opposing goalies can be a physical and grueling job as defensemen and goalies take whacks at you. But Brouwer isn’t worried about his shoulder too much. He said the pain “is not too bad.”
“It does come into play,” Brouwer said. “You want to be able to protect yourself and you want to be able to battle hard in those areas. … I’m ready. I’m ready to get into those battles and those hard areas and push my weight around. It’s when I feel I’m ready to play.”
Center Dave Bolland (concussion) will not play in Game 1, but he’s still expected to play in the series against the Canucks.