Brookbank last non-goalie to get in Hawks' lineup
Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank will become the last non-goalie to get into the Blackhawks' lineup on Wednesday night at St. Louis.
Brookbank replaces Mike Kostka, who stepped in for Michal Rozsival last weekend against Tampa Bay.
"We want to get everyone in here," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It took a little while to get (Brookbank) in, but now we'll have everybody in. He's practiced hard and we'd like to get him involved because he brings something to our team that we like, and he's a competitive guy as well."
The thing the Hawks like about Brookbank is his toughness and willingness to stand up for teammates, which could be important against the physical Blues.
"There's different things they want when they put us in," Brookbank said. "You just play your game."
The Hawks are carrying eight defensemen.
"I totally get why teams want depth on defense," Brookbank said. "It's just sometimes it (stinks) to be one of those guys battling like that, but it's part of the gig. I know there are a lot of other guys who would want to trade places with me.
"You can't get too down on yourself when you're not playing. You don't want to be walking around the room moping around. You want to try to keep it on an even keel or it can make for a long year."
Backup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will be the only Hawk yet to play.
"He's going to get in this weekend for sure," Quenneville said. "We've had a real light schedule and that's the reason we haven't seen Nik yet."
The Hawks play their first set of back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against the Islanders and Buffalo, both at the United Center.
After missing all but one preseason game with a lower body injury, Andrew Shaw thinks he is finally rounding into form.
"I feel pretty good out there," Shaw said. "Our line has created a lot of chemistry and we just have to start burying those chances."
Joel Quenneville likes what he sees from Shaw.
"I like his game," Quenneville said. "You watch him in practice and see him every day, you know how competitive he is. It seems like the puck is following him around more and that tenacity he brings in the tight puck areas, he goes all those places and finds a way to come up with a lot of loose pucks and sustains a lot of pucks for our power play as well.
"He's scrappy around the net and is getting better defensively. We really like the progress."
Hayes vs. Smith:
Jimmy Hayes will be back on the third line at right wing with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad on Wednesday against St. Louis.
Joel Quenneville expects the auditions for the job permanently to go on for a while.
"We'll see how that plays out," Quenneville said. "Getting them both in there early was something we wanted to see. Who was more effective, you could say it was a tie. Things like that sort themselves out. We'll still try a lot of different linemates with those guys as we go along here."