One of the best scenes in the movie "Bull Durham" is when rookie hotshot "Nuke" LaLoosh is called up to the big club. Right after his girlfriend Annie tells him that he isn't coming back to Durham, you can see that he knows his life is about to change for good.
The Blackhawks' Troy Brouwer just had his Nuke experience, as he was called up to Chicago from the Rockford Ice Hogs. Something tells me that he isn't going back to Rockford anytime soon, unless he wants to go to Magic Waters for some water park fun. Brouwer is expected to start in tonight's game against Edmonton.
His career has been more like that of Crash Davis than of Nuke's. This is his third stint with the Blackhawks, and he has played in Moose Jaw and Norfolk. At every level, he has proven himself to be an offensive asset. He scored 35 goals with Rockford last season. A majority of those goals came on a power-play, where the Blackhawks need some help. Chicago has a dismal 14.81 power play percentage, ranking them 18th in the league. He can also create scoring opportunities for teammates, setting up six assists in just five games with the Ice Hogs.
The interesting thing will be to watch how Brouwer handles his call-up just a few weeks into season. At the end of training camp, he was sent down in favor of Jack Skille, who is now playing in Rockford. That is something that weighs mentally on an athlete. He will also be playing alongside NHL veterans Martin Havlat and Patrick Sharp which can be a daunting task. Hopefully, he will want to show new coach Joel Quenneville that former coach Denis Savard was wrong, wrong, wrong to send Brouwer to Rockford. With that attitude, he could provide the scoring boost that the Blackhawks need.