(MCT) CHICAGO — After two root canals and the installation of some wiring across his front teeth, the Blackhawks' Nick Leddy said recently, "I look more like a hockey player."
Despite the damage caused by taking a puck to his mouth Feb. 7 against the Coyotes, Leddy is looking more like a very good hockey player these days. The 21-year-old has developed into one of the Hawks' most dependable defensemen and entered Sunday night's game against the Oilers at the United Center with a plus-10 rating _ fourth-best on the team.
"My plus-minus is a lot better, which is good," Leddy said. "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable. I think playing in Rockford (during the lockout) and gaining that confidence definitely helped out."
Leddy also has become a staple on the power play, with the Hawks looking to take advantage of his speed to move the puck.
"I'm an offensive defenseman so I'm trying to help create some offense," Leddy said. "Obviously the defense is No. 1 and you can always keep working on defense, (but) ... trying to create plays and help the team score is what I'm trying to do."
Dot cons: After losing 36 of 55 faceoffs during their first regulation loss of the season, a 6-2 setback at the hands of the Avalanche on Friday night, the Hawks dropped into a tie for 20th in the NHL at 49.4 percent in the circle.
"We had a decent start to it and as we've trended lately we've gone on the negative side of 50-50," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll try to reinforce the importance of everybody on the line, be it the forwards and the 'D' helping out as well, and concentrate on the importance of coming up with the puck because lately it's been really going against us."