Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Over the summer, General Manager George McPhee started snatching players like a rabid mom snatching groceries on Supermarket Sweeps. In are gritty NHL veterans like Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern. Out are fan-favorites like Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon.
Beyond the discounted signing of Tomas Vokoun, there may have been no better addition to the line-up than the Draft-night trade McPhee swung with the Chicago Blackhawks in which he landed Troy Brouwer for a first-round pick. Brouwer, who signed an affordable two-year deal worth $2,350,000 per year on July 6, was part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad and is known in part for his physical, hard-hitting game. The 26-year-old right wing has also been a proven scorer at every level he’s played, tallying 20 goals in the NHL, 40-plus goals in the AHL, and 100-plus points in Juniors.
So with Opening Night only a few days away, what can Caps fans reasonably expect offensively from Brouwer? Also, how about some bizarre facts about Troy that only RMNB can dig up? Follow me past the jump to find out.
How do you pronounce Troy’s last name?
Brow–er, not Brew-er. And I’m talking with experience here because I’ve actually been guilty of butchering his last name for the last three months or so. Peter seems committed to re-naming the Capitals’ man-advantage “the Brouwer Play”, so I’ll learn.
What number will he be wearing in Washington?
#20. Troy will be the first player to wear the number full-time for the Capitals since Rico Fata did in 2005-06. Other notables who wear the #20 include Gary Rissling (1979-80), Michal Pivonka (1986-99) and Robert Lang (2002-04).
What interesting fact about Brouwer is going to blow my mind?
In Troy’s first NHL game with the Blackhawks on December 23, 2006, a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, he was put on the same line with a former Caps great. “I’d like to see him and say hi to him. I don’t know if he’ll remember me because it was six or seven years ago. But it’d be cool to see him again.” The player he’s referring to? None other than Peter Bondra.
So he’s won a Stanley Cup?
Yeah, dude. In 2010. Troy had four goals and four assists in 19 games during that fateful playoff run, his only goal in the Finals coming in Chicago’s 6-5 win over the Flyers in Game 1.
What did he do on his day with the Stanley Cup?
I’ll let Troy explain: “We had a full day with it. For me, I had it at my house early in the morning and ate some cereal out of it – Fruit Loops. My wife’s sister wanted to do that so we did. My dad was in the hospital throughout the playoff run so we took it to the hospital that he was staying at to say thank you to all the nurses and doctors. Hopefully, it brought some cheer and happiness to everyone else that was in his ward. Then I brought it to the Minor Hockey League rink for the minor hockey league kids to see just because their numbers have been spiraling downwards a little bit lately. So hopefully it brought some enthusiasm to hockey there. And then afterwards, I had it at my Parents’ house. A nice big yard, we had a barbecue and partied with about 200 people.”
Does Troy own a pet?
Yes. Troy has two dogs. Above, Brouwer introduces the world to Ari, a beagle mix (we think). We find out that “some of Ari’s favorite things to do are chase squirrels and cats” and that she has “designer clothes,” like any good princess would. The video’s worth watching just to see her play dead.
Was Troy Brouwer cuter than me as a child?
Yes. Though that Sharks jersey gots to go.
Is Troy Brouwer better than me at Poker?
I wouldn’t bet your wife’s wedding ring on a good hand with him. Brouwer was the last Chicago Blackhawk standing at teammate Brian Campbell’s charity poker tournament two years running.
Any injuries I need to know about?
Brouwer had to have surgery this past May to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury that he suffered sometime in 2009-10. “It was pretty ugly,” Brouwer said of his shoulder. Troy avoided the surgery two summers ago, because the recovery time would be four months, four months that he didn’t have because of the Blackhawks Stanely Cup win in June. So he played through the pain last season and reaggravated the injury in April after flying into the Montreal boards on a missed check. Troy’s first pre-season game came against his former team two Monday’s ago.
Does Brouwer fight?
Ask Mike Richards how that right hand tastes and you’ll get your answer. Hockeyfights.com has credited Brouwer with 43 career bouts, 13 of them at the NHL level.
Why did Chicago trade him in the first place if he’s so good?
Brouwer was a restricted free agent and due a hefty raise from the $1.025 mil he was making in the final year of his two-year contract with Chicago. Plus, he also struggled to find consistency last season and wasn’t a factor in the playoffs, where he went pointless in seven games against the Vancouver Canucks. In the Blackhawk’s final 22 regular season games, Troy failed to tally a goal and had only three points. How much that can be blamed on his wonky shoulder we’ll never know.
Where does Brouwer score most of his goals?
In the bakery. 10 of Brouwer’s 17 goals last year were scored within 15 feet of the net, mostly off rebounds and deflections.
But 20 Goals is a lock right?
Not so fast. Neil wrote a great piece about this for Capitals Insider. Here’s a sampling.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound forward scored 22 goals during the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning season in 2009-10, and he potted 17 goals last year.
But those numbers came in some of the most optimal conditions possible.
[. . . ]
Brouwer’s even-strength shifts started in the offensive zone almost two thirds of the time, and a third of those were with Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, three of the league’s best players.
Is Brouwer going to play on the first line?
Yes, at least for the season opener. Brouwer will play with Marcus Johansson and Alex Ovechkin, while Nicklas Backstrom will most likely center Alex Semin and Mike Knuble on line two.
Where can I see every goal Brouwer scored last year?
Right here, just step over my passed out body and its cramped and worn-down typing hands.
Goal #1 – 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, October 30, 2010
Troy corrals the rebound and scores on the backhand.
Goal #2 – 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames November, 19 2010
Brouwer knocks in a rebound from the waist area past Mikka Kiprusoff.
Goal #3 – GWG, 7-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks, November, 20 2010
Brouwer puts his shoulder down, takes the puck strong to the net, and puts one past Roberto Luongo. Goals in back-to-back games.
Goal #4 – 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks, November, 26 2010
A big hit by Brouwer starts the Blackhawks on an odd man break. Brouwer takes a pass from the boards and rifles a slapshot from the middle of the circles past Jonas Hiller.
Goal #5 – PPG, 7-5 win over the St. Louis Blues, November 30, 2010
Joe B.’s commentating! The goal is a gimme. Puck takes weird bounce off the boards on a dump-in. Brouwer collects and rifles it into a yawning net. This marks four goals in six games for Troy.
Goal #6 – GWG, 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars, December 8, 2010
Brouwer takes a slick pass from Bolland on a 2-on-1 who then takes the puck in, dekes to the backhand, and roofs it past Andrew Raycroft.
Goals #7 and #8 – 2 PPG, 7-5 loss to Colorado, December 13, 2010
A fortunate bounce finds Troy in front of the net on the Brouwer play.
This goal gives the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead. Brouwer tips a shot from the point into the net from about waist-high.
Goal #9 – 4-3 loss to Colorado, December 15, 2010
Brouwer scores a meaningless goal in front of the net with a second left on the clock. Props for the reserved goal celebration. He currently is enjoying 8 goals in 12 games at this point.
Goal #10 – PPG, 5-3 loss to San Jose, December 30, 2010
Brouwer’s centering pass on the powerplay redirects off of Niemi into the net.
Goal #11 – GWG, 4-0 win over Colorado, January 12, 2011
Brouwer jams the puck towards the net and in after a good battle along the boards.
Goals #12 and #13 – PPG, GWG, 6-3 win over the Preds, January 16, 2011
Brouwer scores on the powerplay after taking a rebound and jamming it home.
Brouwer scores 40 seconds later. Takes the puck from the corner, uses his speed to curl to the middle of the ice and wrists a shot past a helpless Anders Lindbeck. It ends up standing up as the game-winning goal and is potentially Brouwer’s most impressive individual play on the year.
Goal #14 – 4-1 win over the Red Wings, January 22, 2011
Jonathan Toews sets Brouwer up in front of the net, and Troy snaps her home.
Goal #15 – 4-2 loss to the Wild, January 25, 2011
Puck finds Brouwer in the crease. Five goals in six games streak.
Goal #16 – PPG, 3-2 (OT) loss to Phoenix, February 12, 2011
Brouwer takes a pass from Marian Hossa and one-times the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov.
Goal #17 – GWPPG, 3-1 win over the Wild, February 16, 2011
Hawks keep the puck in at the blue line. Play breaks down and Brouwer ends up having a 2-on-1 with Hossa from close range. Brouwer tries to send the puck to Marian Hossa but instead the biscuit deflects in past Jose Theodore. Goals in back-to-back games.
In the end, Troy scored his goals from 6ft, 15ft, 7ft, 31ft, 14ft, 7ft, 12ft, 11ft, 11ft, 10ft, 20ft, 16ft, 21ft, 23ft, 10ft, 22ft, and 11ft away from the net. The more you know.