Oduya getting his legs under him

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Oduya getting his legs under him

Johnny Oduya was getting his legs under him after an eventful Monday. The Blackhawks newly acquired defenseman was adjusting to his surroundings and going through team drills with Brent Seabrook.

And as he goes forward with his new team, he knows his role.

Ill try to fit in and help out, Oduya said. Obviously this is a good team and me being here is not a salvation. Were not going to save anybody.

No, but the Blackhawks hope his veteran presence helps a defensive group that could certainly use another one right now, especially with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador sidelined.

Oduya paired with Seabrook at Tuesdays practice, and will be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Blackhawks host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oduyas been through this new-team stuff before he was with the New Jersey Devils before going to the Atlanta ThrashersWinnipeg Jets. While he was somewhat expecting this trade, hell treat this opportunity as he has the others.

Its a new adventure, he said. Its always a tough thing; but its fun, too.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Johnnys a defenseman we can use. I like his experience and we can use his important minutes. I like the way he moves the puck, his quickness.

Viktor Stalberg liked having another fellow countryman in the room.

Its great, were slowly taking over, Stalberg said of the Blackhawks burgeoning Swedish movement. Hes pretty rugged; he can play tough. He plays simple hockey and thats something we need. We need some confidence back there, some calm, maybe, because we have a lot of young guys.

Patrick Kane knows Oduya from past games against him.

Hes an experienced guy whos played some shut-down minutes. Hes tough to play against, quick and good with the puck, Kane said. I think theres a point where you want to see us do something to get better as a team and I thought we did that yesterday. You dont want to see a move where you think, Why did we do that? a year or two down the road. I dont think thats the case here.

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

Blackhawks share condolences after passing of six-time All Star Bill White

The Blackhawks shared their condolences after the passing of former defenseman Bill White on Monday.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team's statement read. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

White spent seven seasons with the Blackhawks — part of a nine-year NHL career — scoring 30 goals and tallying 149 assists.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star Games from 1969 to 1974 and helped the Blackhawks to the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

White also had a brief stint as the Blackhawks' head coach, manning the bench for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.