SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy isn’t sure where all the time went.
Leddy may only be 22 years old, but he’s already played in 212 NHL regular-season and playoff games and is about to enter his fourth season with the Blackhawks.
“It flew by,” Leddy said on Sunday. “I think I feel more and more comfortable every year. Just feels weird to me this being my fourth year.”
Leddy is becoming an NHL veteran on paper, but he doesn’t feel that way on the ice. He and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville think he still has room to grow.
Quenneville especially spoke positively of Leddy after Saturday’s scrimmages.
“I thought he’s had a strong start to our season,” Quenneville said on Saturday. “I thought last year he got off to a really good start to our team. I thought he was a big part to our season. I thought he used that speed and quickness regularly [during Saturday’s scrimmages.] Looked like he had more pace to it. I think he’s a young kid. We expect him to keep improving offensively and defensively. But [Saturday] he showed he’s ready to take another step.”
Leddy appeared to take a step back during the playoffs last season. Quenneville lost confidence in him, and Leddy’s minutes were cut to a career-low 2:37 during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Leddy and Quenneville are ready to move on from what happened last season.
“I think we talked about that after those games,” Quenneville said. “Hey, he can contribute in a lot of ways. Hey, let’s go, let’s move forward. We expect him to play regular minutes and even expanding on that this year with a good start.”
Leddy said, “Obviously it’s motivational. But at the time I just had to be patient and control what I could control and go from there.
“I think especially in the playoffs, talking to a lot of the guys you learn a lot of things. Watching [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] and those guys, you learn a lot from them. There’s not always similar situations with defensemen. You keep learning.”
Injury updates: Jonathan Toews, Michal Handzus, Michal Rozsival and Brandon Pirri were kept out of the scrimmages on Sunday. Toews, Handzus and Rozsival had sat out the previous two days of scrimmages, but Pirri missed his first day due to a minor injury, according to Quenneville. Handzus and Rozsival did practice on Sunday.
Quenneville said Toews will skate on Monday, but he will not participate in the scrimmage during the training camp festival.
Notre Dame camp: Quenneville left open the possibility of returning to Notre Dame for future training camps. He and a number of players said they enjoyed their experience on the campus.
“We’re definitely pleased with the way it went here at Notre Dame and appreciative as well,” Quenneville said. “We’ll talk about [coming back.] When we wrap up different portions of training camp, we’ll always visit back and talk about it. But certainly definitely something to look at.”
Monday’s scrimmage: Quenneville said not all the players will participate in Monday’s scrimmage at the United Center due to numbers. He said there would be nothing to read into with the players not included in the scrimmage.