Chicago Blackhawks: Johnny Duya
And so the Hawks begin the stretch run, clinging to a playoff spot, knowing what their roster will look like with the NHL’s trade deadline in the rear-view mirror. Even for guys who weren’t going to be traded, the passing of Feb. 27 provides a sense of relief. Maybe this is the new beginning they need after going 4-10 since the All-Star break.
“You put a full lineup out there with our team, we’re going to be tough to beat,” Patrick Kane said. “Obviously that’s not where we are right now, so some guys are going need to step up and try to take over a little bit.”
Kane should be one of those guys, and he knows it. He said he has been in contact with injured captain Jonathan Toews on a daily basis but couldn’t provide any insight into his return. No one can. That’s how it goes with what is believed to be a head injury.
“Anytime you have a team this good that wants to bring you in and see if you can help out, that’s something you have to appreciate it,” Oduya said. “I feel fortunate coming in.”
Oduya performed as advertised: a smooth player and good skater. How he reacts in the Hawks’ zone remains to be seen. But puck possession and movement alone should help the defense.
“I was pretty happy with this,” Kane said. “We picked up a guy like Oduya who will help out or defense a lot. He seems like he’s a good puck-moving D-man, and he’ll get us the puck.>"It’s a good team in here, a good bunch of guys. We feel like we have a chance to do some special things.”
And he’ll eat up some minutes.
“It’s always good to add a guy that can help you out in that way,” Seabrook said. “[Oduya] can play some big minutes, some tough minutes. It’s going to be good for us.”