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Monday, April 21, 2014
Brookbank excited to play in playoffs

By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank had learned from the past he could easily go from being a healthy scratch to being on the ice in the playoffs.

Brookbank experienced that last season when he filled in for Duncan Keith, who was suspended a game in the Western Conference finals. A season later, Brookbank finds himself in a similar position after Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for an illegal hit in Game 2 of the Blackhawks' first-round series with the Blues. Brookbank will play in Game 3 of the series on Monday after being a healthy scratch the first two games.

Brookbank
"Definitely excited," Brookbank said after the team's morning skate on Monday. "Not exactly the circumstances I want to come in under, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting up to play. The series looks pretty emotional, pretty intense, so it's going to be a good one.

"This is where you want to be. You want to play in the playoffs. That's what we all play for. I'm just going to make the most of it."

Brookbank is known for his physical style of play, and he hopes that will be a positive for the Blackhawks against a physical Blues team.

"Better believe [it's my type of series]," Brookbank said. "It's going to be tough. Have to try and keep yourself in check and not get too caught up in all the stuff. So far, it's had a lot of bite to it, and I don't expect that to change at all."

Brookbank often was rotated in and out of the lineup with a few other defensemen during the regular season. He had two goals, five assists and a plus-two rating in 48 games this season.

Brookbank had his role increased late in the regular season when Johnny Oduya missed time due to an injury and when the Blackhawks locked up their playoff position. Brookbank played 16 minutes or more in five of the last six regular season games.

Quenneville is confident Brookbank will be able to step in and contribute against the Blues.

"He's a steady guy, simple direct," Quenneville said. "Hard to play against, and he gives us that presence back there as well."

Being inserted into the lineup this time around should be easier for Brookbank than in last season's playoffs. He hadn't played in a game in nearly six weeks when he was asked to replace Keith last season. He last played on April 12 this season.

"It was closer to two months last year, but this is maybe just over a week," Brookbank said. "So hopefully I won't be as rusty and still have the rhythm going from the regular season."