Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Please End #ProjectBrookbank ASAP (Get Well Soon Bickell)

By Keith Schultz

Sep 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman

Sheldon Brookbank

(17) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Before the season started the thought by many Chicago Blackhawks fans was what team would Stan Bowman be able to dump Brookbank on during the first couple weeks of the season.  Once the season started Brookbank when given the opportunity on defense was actually playing better than last season and on most nights was playing better than Michal Rozsival.

A strange thing happened on the way to a platoon defenseman arrangement between Rozsival and Brookbank.  Joel Quenneville decided to teach Jeremy Morin a lesson and threw him in Q’s dog house and he decided to play Brookbank at forward.  Morin missed one defensive assignment on a Calgary Flames goal in their 3-2 SO loss versus the Hawks and that’s all it took for #ProjectBrookbank to begin.

Brookbank played three straight games at Forward averaging just a bit over 6 minutes a game.  With Brookbank in the lineup it really means that the lines all night will be messed up and Patrick Kane will be double shifting each period.  Brookbank was a surprise on the defensive end, but he’s been a below average at best forward with little offensive push during any game. The only problem with this arrangement was the Hawks kept winning and Q kept not wanting to change the lineup.

Morin got his chance, but was sent back to Rockford after Kris Versteeg was reacquired from the Florida Panthers.  The Hawks after making the deal were in salary cap purgatory and were unable to keep three players up on the roster for late scratches and injuries.

After Brookbank was out for one game as a healthy scratch, Marian Hossa came up with a lower body injury and Brookbank as the only player available to play was back in the lineup, which meant that #ProjectBrookbank would be back on the ice at wing.  The Hawks easily beat the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night, but the problem with Brookbank at forward was glaringly evident on Tuesday night.  The Hawks were behind pretty early and having to double shift stars to cover Brookbank’s lack of offense put the Hawks shorthanded all night long, and throw in the altitude last night and it really was a bad project gone really bad.

The fact that Brookbank puts the Hawks shorthanded is one thing, it also nullifies Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell at forward. In the 7 games the three have been line mates they have come up with 3 total points (2 Goals and 1 assists)

Now comes the fact that Bickell is hurt and out for a “bit” means there is a very good chance that Brookbank will be playing wing for the time being no matter who the Blackhawks call up today or tomorrow which means until Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell are back in the lineup on a regular basis we are most likely stuck with Brookbank.

The Hawks have built up an incredible amount of talent between Chicago and Rockford, but the fact that Sheldon Brookbank plays a wing is really unacceptable and needs to end ASAP. There is no reason to burn out your stars double shifting them in November.  Rolling four lines and fresh legs in April is the goal! The end of the project may not come soon enough with Bickell getting hurt last night, but the sooner #17 isn’t at forward the better.