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.