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posted: 4/14/2010 12:01 AM

Brouwer happy to be back after time with his family

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Troy Brouwer was back at practice Tuesday after spending a difficult week back home in British Columbia attending to his ill father.

Brouwer said his dad was feeling well enough to order him back to Chicago to get ready for the playoffs.

"He's doing better, that's for sure, and he doesn't want me around," Brouwer joked. "He's a guy that really wants me to do well in hockey and as soon as he was OK then he wanted me back here doing what I love to do and what he loves to watch."

Brouwer missed the Blackhawks' last four games, which were the only ones he sat out all season.

"My parents taped all the games so I was able to watch," Brouwer said. "At such a crucial time of the year I wanted to be around for the guys, but I had other business I had to take care of."

Brouwer personally is happy the first-round series with Nashville doesn't begin until Friday.

"It's nice I have these couple extra days to get a few practices in and get the legs going," Brouwer said. "When I was at home I got with my trainer and worked out a few times and skated a few times so I'm not completely out of it, but by the time I do play that game it'll be two weeks since I played so it'll take a couple shifts to really get into it."

Brouwer heard from each one of his teammates while he was back home and was thankful to the organization for telling him to take as much time as he needed.

Bad hair day: Most Hawks are planning to grow playoff beards, but since Patrick Kane can't get a good one going he showed up at practice Tuesday sporting a playoff mullet.

"It was pretty embarrassing last year so I got the playoff mullet going," Kane said. "Short on top and the long hair in the back, bring back the '80s look, I guess. They say business in the front and party in the back.

"I'll kind of look a little trashy for a little bit, but I think it's fun and the boys all got a good laugh out of it."

Shorthaired Andrew Ladd certainly got a kick out of Kane's new do.

"It's funny," Ladd said. "I don't know if it's a great look for him, but it definitely gets a laugh."

Rest is good: The Hawks don't mind in the least that their first-round series isn't starting until Friday.

"It's great for our bodies to rest up and get a couple extra days to prepare as much as we can and watch video to see what they do as a team and what we can really key on," captain Jonathan Toews said.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has no problem with the late starting date either.

"I don't mind the fact coming off that five games in eight days to finish the season that we have some time to catch our breath," Quenneville said. "We had to play every game like we had to win the game and we didn't have the luxury of making taking a break with certain guys getting rested.

"We should use this time to refresh ourselves and get excited about starting. The schedule is the way it is and we have to deal with it. Once you get in that series it's every other day and we'll be busy."

Tip-ins: Defenseman Duncan Keith was given an extra day off to rest on Tuesday - The Hawks and WGN radio announced a three-contract extension on Tuesday - In a Sports Illustrated poll of 272 NHL players, 31 percent picked Washington to win the Stanley Cup followed by the Hawks at 27 percent - Defenseman Kim Johnsson remains out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.