Improved Leddy off to quick start

Improved Leddy off to quick start
January 27, 2013, 10:39 pm
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Nick Leddy went through his ups and downs in his sophomore season.
Yes, the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman put up solid numbers, especially in assists, where his 34 were second on the team only to Duncan Keith (36). But Leddy was also a minus-12 on the season, a number that definitely needed to improve.
And in this early season, Leddy has been an improved defenseman.
Leddy started the season with an assist in each of his first four games, and is sitting at a minus-1 during the Blackhawks run to a 5-0-0 start. Leddy, whos in the final season of his three-year contract, is looking to regain the defensive game he showed signs of during his first season with the Blackhawks. While the lockout dragged on for months, Leddy honed his game with the Rockford IceHogs. He came back to Chicago looking more confident.
That definitely helped, Leddy said of Rockford. And weve all been playing together here (for two seasons). We all had a lot of chemistry together and that definitely helps.
Coach Joel Quenneville said some of Leddys improvement just comes from playing more.
With defensemen, as they mature, the more opportunities they see. That helps you in all aspects of your game, Quenneville said. The more you play the better you play; he got playing time in all situations down there and that should help.
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Leddy said he mostly needed to improve his defensive coverage and Rockfords coaches helped him do that, be it with on-ice tutelage or watching video.
Its about being stronger on my stick in front of the net, making that first strong play and helping get the puck out of the zone, Leddy said. I really needed to work on that.
Quenneville said hes noticed Leddys better defending work, be it even strength or special teams.
Hes got a better stick, hes coming up with some loose pucks and when he starts the rush from our end he can alleviate that pressure and skate by people, Quenneville said. Hes been good on power-play entries as well; and hes got a good shot. Hes been playing different kind of minutes against different kind of guys. Were comfortable against any kind of matchup with him out there but theres been overall improvement in his game.
Leddy has been a steady presence in the Blackhawks lineup but has had two different partners, Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank. Both provide a veteran presence for Leddy, who said its nothing to adjust to eachs style.
They have a little different styles but its nice that we all make a simple, easy play, he said. Everyone has their own style. You just have to get used to it.

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