Hawks' Brookbank gets a chance

Sheldon Brookbank has been a spectator since the Blackhawks' playoffs started April 30.

Today, the Hawks' veteran defenseman finally will have a chance to lace up his skates.

Brookbank, 32, will replace teammate Duncan Keith on the blue line as Keith serves a one-game suspension for his high stick against Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter. Meanwhile, the Hawks will try to win Game 4 against the Kings at the Staples Center and increase their 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Although Brookbank has not played since April 27, he has plenty of experience in physical Western Conference games. He has appeared in 303 career regular-season games and 17 career playoff games since he entered the league during the 2006-07 season.

Brookbank lacks Keith's speed and passing ability, but he is a tough-minded defenseman who likely will be asked to kill penalties and clear Kings players from the front of the Hawks net. But he will need to be careful to avoid the penalty box, having accumulated 32 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Hawks are 6-5 in Game 4s with head coach Joel Quenneville behind the bench. Tonight's game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. CT., and it will air on NBC Sports Network and WGN-AM 720.

-Tom Musick

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