Adam Brooks could make his Canadian debut on Tuesday night

The center who earned the nickname “Prairie Jesus” while racking up points with junior Regina Pats could take the place of Jake Evans against the Sharks.

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Adam Brooks seemed a bit nervous as he took the stage to answer questions from the Montreal media for the first time on Monday after the Canadiens’ practice at the Bell Center.


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Brooks politely asked if he was allowed to remove his COVID mask after sitting behind a table and when told he could, he said, “Thank you. I was not sure “.

The Canadiens claimed Brooks off the waivers a week before the Toronto Maple Leafs and in Monday’s practice he was in the center of the third row between Mike Hoffman and Brendan Gallagher. Jake Evans, who normally centers the third line, missed practice with an upper body injury and is questionable for Tuesday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Center. (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

That means Brooks could make his Canadiens debut against the Sharks.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen to the lineup in the future,” Brooks said. “Nothing has been said. Whenever you get a chance to play two guys like that, similar to what I had last year, you just want to take the chance. Be it in practice, be it in a game, you just want to make sure that you’re working hard, you’re doing what you can to support those guys and be in a good position for them. If it happens that’s where I play between those two, I want to be a good hub for them and make sure I’m doing things responsibly so they feel like they can trust me. “


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Last season, Brooks played 11 games for the Maple Leafs, posting 4-1-5 totals with veterans Joe Thornton and Jason Spezza as his wingers. Brooks also played 17 games for the AHL Toronto Marlies, going 4-9-13.

“Obviously it was an honor and a privilege to play with those two guys, first and foremost,” Brooks, 25, said of playing with Thornton and Spezza. “Two guys who have been around for a long time and they both have very good offensive numbers and very good runs. They taught me a lot. I think every time you first try playing six or eight games in a row it’s a bit difficult or a bit of a jump and playing with those guys they made it very easy. So I think when you play two guys who have that kind of mind and you settle in, whether it’s offense or defense, always talking to yourself and people that you can create chemistry in a stretch, it will bring out the best in you. of you. I pride myself on being a guy who can think the game and be in the right position. So I like to think that I can play with anyone, but it was definitely good to play with two guys so they have such illustrious careers. “


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The Leafs selected Brooks in the fourth round (92 overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft after he posted totals of 38-82-120 in 72 games with the WHL’s Regina Pats. The following season, Brooks was 43-87-130 total in 66 games for the Pats. The Winnipeg native earned the nickname “Prairie Jesus” while with the Pats.

“I think that was something on Twitter when I was playing junior in Regina,” Brooks said. “The grasslands… he came up with a fan. But no one calls me that outside of I think a couple of people in Regina. So I wouldn’t focus too much on that nickname. “

In 18 games over two seasons with the Leafs, the 6-foot, 179-pound Brooks had had totals of 4-4-8 before being claimed by the Canadiens.

“I’m not a very flashy player,” he said. “In junior he was an offensive guy and I was probably focusing on that side of things. But when I turned pro in my freshman year, I was on the fourth row in the AHL, and I quickly learned that not everyone who makes that leap (to the NHL) is going to be a scorers. So for me, I had to be very responsible. I’m not going to be a guy who goes from extreme to extreme, but I think I’m a guy who will always be in the right position, using my mind to make little plays and just be in the right places and I hope I’m a guy with whom the coach can count in any situation. I think I trust (Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe) in Toronto, he learned that he could play with me in and out of the lineup when he needed to and play with me in situations like penalties if he needed it too. So that’s what I want to be here for. I want to establish that trust with the coach so that he can play with me anywhere and feel comfortable having me on the ice. “

When the interview session ended, Brooks put the mask back on and said, “Thank you guys so much. Happy to be here. “

When a reporter joked that Brooks would now be called “Prairie Jesus,” he laughed and said, “Please don’t call me that.”

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