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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Brookbank to make season debut vs. Blues

By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank gets why the team is carrying eight defensemen.

But as nice as being stockpiled with defensemen is for the Blackhawks, that doesn't make it any easier for Brookbank to often not dress for games.

"I totally get why teams want depth on defense," Brookbank said after Tuesday's practice. "It just sometimes sucks when you're one of those guys battling like that. It's part of the gig. I know there's a lot of other guys who would want to trade places with me.

"It's always a challenge. I think everyone is capable of playing full time here. It's just kind of a logjam on D. The guys are just going to have to play his game and it should sort itself out."

Brookbank's first opportunity to display his skills this season will come against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. He was a healthy scratch in the first two games.

"We want to get everyone in here," Quenneville said. "It took him a little while to get in. [Ben Smith] getting in last game and allow everyone after Game 3. He's practiced hard. We like to get him involved because he brings something to our team that we like. He's a competitive guy as well."

Brookbank faced a similar situation last season. He often took turns with Michal Rozsival for games during the regular season, and he was a healthy scratch for 22 of the 23 playoff games. He replaced Duncan Keith for a game in the Western Conference finals when Keith was suspended for a game.

Those past experiences with not playing doesn't make it any more enjoyable now for Brookbank, but he does know how to handle it better.

"You just can't really get too down on yourself when you're not playing," said Brookbank, who was signed to a two-year deal prior to the 2012-13 season. "You just want to be positive. You don't want to be walking around the room kind of moping around and stuff like that. You want to try to keep it kind of even keel. If you're riding the highs and lows, it'll make for a long year."