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Hits keep coming for Brouwer
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo gives the Hawks' Troy Brouwer a shove as Shane O'Brien looks on during Game 5 action Saturday in Vancouver.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 5/12/2009 12:29 AM

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If Troy Brouwer owned a radio station his catchphrase might be, "All hits all the time!"

Or, "Nothing but the hits!"

In the Blackhawks' Western Conference semifinal series against Vancouver, Brouwer delivered more hits than the Beatles in their prime, none bigger than the one he put on Canucks center Ryan Kesler late in the second period of Game 5 in Vancouver.

It was a hit that not only helped keep the puck in the Vancouver zone but eventually led to Dustin Byfuglien scoring his second goal of the night to tie things up at the end of two periods.

The Hawks would go on to win 4-2 to get within a game of clinching the series, and they completed the task with Monday night's 7-5 victory.

"I guess it was a pretty big momentum changer; you turn the puck over because of it, and we were able to score and tie the game up going to the third period," Brouwer said. "I just saw him with his head down and I had an opportunity to separate him from the puck and we end up getting a goal.

"It makes you feel pretty good when you can knock someone over like that - especially a big man like Kesler - and to score as a result of it just makes it that much better."

Brouwer played like a man possessed against Vancouver. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound right wing had amassed 28 hits in the series heading into Monday night's Game 6, leading the Hawks in that category.

"The first series (against Calgary) I didn't feel like I was doing enough, so I wanted to come into this series and finish all my checks, make my presence felt out there and make it so Coach Q is comfortable putting me on the ice," Brouwer said.

Coach Q - a k a Joel Quenneville - was absolutely comfortable enough with Brouwer in Game 5 to put him on a line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on occasion.

"He's one guy in our lineup that really gives us some good depth, and they have to be aware that he can hit you and that he can score," Quenneville said.

But it was the hitting that got Brouwer noticed in this series. Same goes for Byfuglien (26 hits going into Monday).

In fact, it's almost as if the two teammates were having some kind of contest to see who winds up with the most hits.

"I wouldn't say that. Maybe a little friendly competition, but nothing too exciting," Brouwer said with a laugh. "Obviously we're both trying to do the same thing - finish all our checks. We're very similar-style players.

"We just - hit."