Adam Brooks could make his Habs debut on Tuesday night – .

Adam Brooks could make his Habs debut on Tuesday night – .

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

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Adam Brooks seemed a little nervous when 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 say, “Thank you. I was not sure.

The Canadians claimed Brooks on waivers a week earlier against the Toronto Maple Leafs and in practice Monday he was center of the third line 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 (19h, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98,5 FM).

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

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future with the training,” Brooks said. “Nothing was said. Anytime you get the chance to play with two guys like this – like what I got last year – you just want to make the most of the opportunity. Whether it’s in training, whether it’s in a game, you just want to make sure you’re working hard, doing what you can to support these guys and be in a good position for them. If that happens that’s where I play in between those two, I want to be a good center for them and make sure I do things responsibly so they feel like I can. trust.

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

“It was obviously an honor and a privilege to play with these two guys, first and foremost,” Brooks, 25, said of playing with Thornton and Spezza. “Two guys who have been around for a very long time and both have very good offensive numbers and just very good careers. They taught me a lot. I think every time you’ve really tasted for the first time playing six, eight games in a row, it’s a bit of a struggle or a little jump and playing with these guys made it really easy. So I think when you play with two guys who have that kind of wit and who sort of settle down – whether it’s offensively or defensively – you’re still talking to yourself and the people you can create. chemistry over a period, it’s going to bring out the best in you. I’m proud to be a guy who can kind of think of the game and be in the right position. So I like to think I can play with anyone, but it was really nice playing with two guys like that who have such illustrious careers.

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

“I think it was one thing on Twitter when I played junior in Regina,” said Brooks. “The prairies… a fan suggested it. But nobody calls me that outside, I think, of a few people in Regina. So I wouldn’t focus too much on this nickname.

In 18 games in two seasons with the Leafs, the 6-foot, 179-pound Brooks totaled 4-4-8 before being claimed by the Canadiens.

“I’m not too flashy a player,” he said. “In junior, I was an attacking guy and I was probably focusing on that side. But when I got to the pros my first year, I was on the fourth line in the AHL and I quickly learned that not everyone who makes that jump (to the NHL) will be scorers. So for me, I just had to be very responsible. I’m not going to be a guy who goes through and through but I think I’m a guy who is always going to be in the right position, using my mind to play little games and just be in the right places and hope to be a guy. who the coach can count on in any situation. I think my trust with (Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe) in Toronto, he learned he could get me in and out of the roster when he needed to and play me in situations like the penalty kill. if he needed it too. So that’s what I want to be here. I want to build that trust with the coach so he can play me anywhere and feel comfortable having me on the ice.

At the end of the interview session, Brooks put his mask back on and said, “Thanks a lot guys. Glad 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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