Troy Brouwer, Dad, Key Factors Against San Jose Sharks

Jeff HicksCorrespondent IMay 13, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 01: Troy Brouwer #22 of the Chicago Blackhawks fires a shot at Sami Salo #6 and Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 5-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks have a special place in my heart for one reason:

My Dad.

About 90 percent of the Blackhawks games I have watched in my life have been with him. Not being able to watch a game and bond with him would throw me off.

I cannot fathom what Troy Brouwer has gone through during the playoffs because of his father's major health concerns. What turned into a "Brouwer...really?" statement after his minus-5 showing early in the playoffs became an amazing focal point for the Blackhawks going forward.

With word that his dad is on the mend, Troy Brouwer rejoined the team and tallied a goal in their series-clinching win against Vancouver. Playing in his hometown, close to his dad probably played a part in the decision, and Chicago should be thankful. One of the many young Chicago standouts had yet make his impression on the 2010 playoffs, but that is not a concern any longer.

It was clear watching the game on Tuesday that Blackhawk teammates rallied around Brouwer in his return. The last thing Vancouver needed to see was a replenished Chicago team playing even harder on the road. The win was Chicago's fifth straight away from the windy city.

Brouwer's revamped mindset and skill around the net should loom large in the Western Conference Finals again the San Jose Sharks. According to Yahoo Sports, Brouwer has five points, including a shorthanded goal and game winner, as well as a plus-5 rating against San Jose this season.

I imagine having his dad back in the wellness column will help maintain his superior play against the best team in the west.