Sheldon Brookbank is in charge of both the Blackhawks’ defense and the penalty kill, both of which have been lacking.
A questionable hire by the Blackhawks in January 2019, Sheldon Brookbank hasn’t done the best job with the responsibilities he was given. The defense looks great on paper, but their system doesn’t work. Their tendencies leave the goaltender out to dry, such as overaggressive pinches that result in an odd-man chance against.
I was confused about this hire by the Blackhawks as Brookbank didn’t do that great with the IceHogs with the same responsibilities. He didn’t make an impact as a player, either, being a healthy scratch more often than not. Why he was hired to work with the defense instead of, I don’t know, maybe Brian Campbell, who actually contributed to the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup, is confusing.
The penalty kill is (to my understanding) another one of his responsibilities. It is on a downward spiral to be the worse in thirty years, currently at a kill rate of 72.5%. If the penalty kill ends up being why the Blackhawks lose their playoff spot, Brookbank should be fired.
Brookbank was also a hard-nosed, physical defenseman who would rather play the man than play the puck. The Chicago Blackhawks have a plethora of small, fast, offensive defensemen coming up in Adam Boqvist, Nicolas Beaudin, Ian Mitchell, and more. His style of play and the style of the players he’s supposed to develop are complete opposites.
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In my opinion, Brookbank should be fired, and Brian Campbell should be hired to replace him. He was a small but impactful defenseman in his career. He can show the guys how to play offensively and how to watch for and defend possible chances against.
The Hawks defense seems to pinch at the worst times, and I feel like Campbell could do a great job in showing them when to take chances and contribute offensively and when to get back to defend. Campbell played the same style as Adam Boqvist and Ian Mitchell with great success, and I think he would do a much better job with their development.
In all, Sheldon Brookbank wasn’t a good hire. He hasn’t done a good job with the defense, and his playing style is the complete opposite of those he is supposed to develop. The defense has been underwhelming at best, with multiple misreads and bad decisions that harm the team.
The penalty kill has been horrible as of late and could ruin the Blackhawks’ chances at making the playoffs in what would still be a promising season. He should be let go, and Brian Campbell should be promoted.