Back home, Leddy never wonders what could have been

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Back home, Leddy never wonders what could have been

For Nick Leddy, theres always going to be something special about stepping onto the Xcel Energy Center ice. Its where he played when he was with Eden Prairie High School during their 2009 state title run, and the memories are always there.

Those memories will probably be there again when Leddy and the Chicago Blackhawks play the Minnesota Wild there on Thursday night. But as far as seeing Xcel in the what-might-have-been sense; to wonder if the Wild, who drafted him, hadnt traded him? Well, thats kind of an afterthought.

The Blackhawks are the only pro group Leddy has ever known, and hes just fine with that. And in two seasons, the young defenseman is finding his niche with the team.

Leddy has just about completed his sophomore season with the Blackhawks, one that has certainly had its ups and downs. Yes, hes a minus-15, a number hed love to get closer to a positive. But hes also posted a career-high 34 assists, the second most among Blackhawks defensemen this season. In the absence of Duncan Keith, Leddy was there with the helpers, tallying five in four games.

Nicks had some real good stretches in the season, coach Joel Quenneville said recently. Its a long year, and there are some learning curves as far as positioning, consistency; its something young defenseman can be exposed to at times and grown into it nicely. His movement with the puck and coming up with speed, thats noticeable.

Also noticeable is the success Leddy and partner Johnny Oduya have had together. Paired about a period into Oduyas stint with the Blackhawks, the two have formed a solid and reliable duo on the ice. Leddy said hes learned a lot from the veteran Oduya.

Its been great. I think weve talked almost after every play, every time were out there. Or if he sees something I can do better or can help him out in any way, we talk about it on the bench, said Leddy, who added the two did build chemistry pretty quick.

We were talking the other day and (Oduya) said he played with a guy from the (University of Minnesota), too, Paul Martin, said Leddy of Martin, who played with Oduya in New Jersey. We play alike and I think maybe our play fits each other.

Leddys plus-minus, however, has been rough this season. But Keith said Leddy shouldnt take all the blame for it.

Every defenseman has tough stretches, Keith said. Weve had some times where weve allowed a lot of goals. He plays a lot and youre going to be on for goals but sometimes its not always your fault. Sometimes he took some heat but it wasnt all to do with him. Its a collective group out there. Hes been great all year.

Leddy will always go home, always get back to Xcel and its memories, twice a season. But there are no such visions about what couldve been with Minnesota. Its only about what is with the Blackhawks.

Ive been here long enough where I like it here, Leddy said. And I couldnt see myself anywhere else.

92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

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92 Days to Kickoff: Plano

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: Plano

Head coach: Brad Kunz

How they fared in 2016: 7-3 (4-1 Interstate 8 Large), lost to Manteno in the 4A  opening round action.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – Johnsburg

Sept. 1 – @ Harvard

Sept. 8 – Herscher

Sept. 15 - @ Sandwich

Sept. 22 - Manteno

Sept. 29 – @ Coal City

Oct. 6 - Streator

Oct. 13 - Reed-Custer

Oct. 20 - @ Westmont

Biggest storyline: Can the Reapers reload?

Names to watch this season: Senior DB Mauricio Perez Senior DB Alec Chavez

Biggest holes to fill: The Reapers will need to replace 20 graduated starters from a season ago, and that group also included several multi-year starters for Plano.

EDGY's Early Take: The Reapers no question have work to do this summer, yet head coach Brad Kunz and staff always finds a way for Plano to compete in the Interstate 8 conference and beyond.

Lyons Township's Ben Bryant leads list of top 5 uncommitted Illinois recruits

Lyons Township's Ben Bryant leads list of top 5 uncommitted Illinois recruits

With the end of the college football recruiting spring evaluation period this week, focus for college programs will turn towards uncommitted recruits in the 2018 class. While the Illinois class already has 16 of the top 25 names already verbally committed, many top names still remain available.

Here are my top five uncommitted names still available in the 2018 Illinois class.

Lyons Township QB Ben Bryant: Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), a three-star recruit, originally committed to Wisconsin in December but was dropped by the Badgers a few weeks ago. Bryant recently has added offers from Georgia, Western Michigan, Temple, Bowling Green and Cincinnati.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory: Three-star Mallory (6-foot-3, 265 pounds) has been very impressive this winter and spring on the camp circuit. Mallory has eight offers so far from various FBS and FCS schools. Several Power 5 programs, including Michigan State and Purdue, are waiting on Mallory's test score and spring semester grades before they extend him a scholarship offer. Mallory could see his recruiting stock soar this summer and early fall.

Marist DL Gavin McCabe: McCabe is currently touting nearly 30 scholarship offers and hasn't yet narrowed down any list of favorite schools. However, McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) was planning to camp at a handful of schools this summer, including Wisconsin and a recent offer from Navy. McCabe was considering making a summer unofficial visit to the Naval Academy.

Bolingbrook WR I'Shawn Stewart: Stewart was originally planning to be verbally committed by now, yet increased college looks this spring made him hold off on a decision. Stewart, who currently has offers form the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Syracuse and NIU is planning to camp in early June with both Michigan State and Wisconsin. Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) is planning to narrow down his list of favorite schools after his camps and is also looking towards making a late June decision.

Marist TE T.J. Ivy: Ivy recently narrowed down his favorite schools to a top 4 (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and West Virginia). Ivy (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) is still open to other schools and is also planning to make his college decision before the start of his senior year.