Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
When one of the Blackhawks’ top forwards goes down with an injury, attention tends to shift to winger Troy Brouwer, who’s typically seen as the best of the second-tier players.
But Brouwer doesn’t feel more compelled to produce now just because Patrick Sharp (knee) and Dave Bolland (concussion) are out of the lineup. He’s always expected to produce — but he’s in a funk at a crucial time.
‘‘I don’t know exactly how many games, but it’s been way longer than I hoped it would be,” said Brouwer, who has one point in his last 17 games.
‘‘I feel like I’m getting some chances here and there, but not a lot of quality chances I should be getting. I’ve got to start taking pucks to the net more, doing what I was doing that was making me successful — just going to the net hard and sticking around for rebounds.”
Brouwer’s production often comes in bunches.
‘‘I’m usually kind of a clump player where I get one and a couple more come,” he said.
Despite his recent rough patch, he remains a key for the Hawks. His penalty-kill minutes have increased, and he has fared well all season in a checking role.
‘‘He can play both sides,” coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘He’s a big guy physically. He gives us a dimension there, whether it’s on a need basis or performance basis.
‘‘It seems no matter what line he’s on, it’s a line that you count on. It’s important ice time as well. He saw a checking role with [Bolland] early on and scoring with [Jonathan Toews’ line].’’
Brouwer’s line seems to change weekly, which could play a role in his varying production. Currently he’s playing with rookie center Marcus Kruger and winger Bryan Bickell.
‘‘I’ve been utilized in every aspect,’’ he said. ‘‘Fourth line, first line, it doesn’t matter. I like the challenge; I like being considered a versatile player like that — that I can go in any situation and be effective.
‘‘For me, sometimes it’s a roll of the dice when I come to the rink and try to figure out where I’m going to play. That has a lot to do with myself as well — how I’ve been playing, how the coach sees me playing and obviously how the rest of the team is playing.’’