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At the Rink blog

Hawks happy with third defense pairing

Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 3:58 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Hawks happy with third defense pairing
Sean O'Donnell and Steve Montador have provided some steady play along the blue line as the third pairing for Chicago and the Blackhawks' depth on the back end is starting to take shape because of it.

O'Donnell, who just turned 40, is still in great shape and has proven to be a steady presence at both ends of the ice, while Montador's play has picked up considerably since the preseason ended.

"He's really progressed," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said after Saturday's morning skate at United Center. "His training camp was ordinary and as soon as the regular season started his play picked up. Defensively, he's responsible and gives us some quickness coming out of our end. He's got a big shot off the point and looks to make plays as well. Overall that pair's been very steady for us, which is what we're looking for."

Montador has one assist and a plus-3 rating through Chicago's first six games, while O'Donnell has a pair of assists and is a plus-2.
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What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp