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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Leddy-Hendry pairing proving effective

By Jesse Rogers

Nick Leddy and Jordan Hendry
The Blackhawks' Nick Leddy and Jordan Hendry have played well in their brief time together.
They have yet to be on the ice for a goal against.

Since being paired as the Chicago Blackhawks' fifth and sixth defensemen, Nick Leddy and Jordan Hendry have found a connection.

In three games together, they’ve averaged about 15 minutes of ice time and have helped solidify an untrustworthy part of the Hawks' defense through the first half of the season.

“I think maybe we have similar styles, and we read well off each other,” Hendry said after practice on Thursday. “We both like puck possession and making plays instead of rimming the puck around.”

Leddy was told he and Hendry are making it look easy.

“We’re both good skating defensemen,” he said. “We like the simple play which is good. That’s probably why it looks pretty simple.”

The Hawks' defense has played as well as it has all season over the past three games, which has included two shutouts. The return of Leddy from the minors has given Joel Quenneville the confidence to play the bottom pair more, while resting others.

The one word that keeps popping up about Leddy’s game is patience.

“He even fakes me out sometimes,” Hendry said with a laugh. “He’ll fake skating up the ice, and I think he’s going to pass it over or pass it up, and he holds onto it and lets that first forechecker skate right by him. Everyone expects him to unload the puck right there, and so it shows you how much patience he does have.”

Quenneville knows a little something about playing the position having done it in the NHL for many years.

“Patience with the puck is an art and a great skill to have,” Quenneville said. “I think everyone has a different threshold of patience with the puck.

“I think of [former NHL defenseman Sergei] Zubov standing at the point with the puck and all of a sudden one more guy you fake off, and you hold on, hold on, and all of a sudden things evaporate and you have all kinds of time. Leddy has that ability to wait people off.”

It doesn’t take a hockey expert to notice it. Watch him with the puck. He’ll take that extra breath or two before moving it, or moving with it.

“It’s a little natural,” Leddy said. “There isn’t a lot you can do to practice it. That extra pause can open up some plays that you may not have seen.”

Quenneville agreed with that notion, making Leddy’s play a bit unique among Hawk defensemen.

“It’s nice to watch other people do it, but it’s a different level of trying to implement it in your own game,” Quenneville said. “You want to make it simple and easy because sometimes the longer you wait, you can get yourself in trouble. There’s a balance and fine line there.”

As for faking out his defensive partner the soft-spoken Leddy said, “I try not to do that.”

As long as he’s faking the opposition, no one is complaining.