Chicago Blackhawks: Defending Stanley Cup Champions Face Growing Pains

March 13th, 2011 by Joshua Burmeister Leave a reply »
During the current visit to the White House, the Chicago Blackhawks got to meet with someone important to them. No, I do not mean President Obama. The Hawks got to catch up with departed defenseman, Brent Sopel.

Last year, for the Stanley Cup-winning squad, Sopel was applauded for his shot blocking ability and willingness to lay his body on the line to save a goal. He finished the season with a plus-3 and 8 points. In the end, he was shipped out to Atlanta due to money constraints. Most fans were impartial to the deal.

His overall slow and ungraceful skating ability left him mainly unpopular in Chicago.

The only problem is that the Blackhawks do miss him. His veteran intuition put him in the right places at the right times. The mediocre play of rookie Nick Leddy has made this painfully evident.

Leddy has tallied a plus-1 through 32 games played this season. Although not a terrible score, a closer examination of his ice time shows gaping holes in his abilities. His play has demonstrated a distinct unawareness of players on the ice. He has, on several occasions, missed passes to teammates or mistakenly passed into traffic. Most importa ...

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