In a stunning turn of events, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville benched defenseman Nick Leddy for Game 3 of the Blackhawks’ series with the Minnesota Wild. For Leddy, it was the first time since January of 2011 that he had been benched. Leddy was benched because of lagging play and his absence may have cost the Blackhawks. But he intends to use that benching as motivation.
It goes without saying that Leddy should be motivated after this. Poor play has no room in the playoffs, but it must have been embarrassing for Leddy being benched in his home state against the team that drafted him. But Leddy’s speed was sorely missed as the Hawks struggled to deal with the Wild’s attack. Of course, the Hawks are also missing Andrew Shaw, just not as much as Leddy (apologies to Shaw’s fans).
But Leddy’s one of the defensemen who does’t get the recognition he deserves. He’s a workhorse and has plenty of speed (as mentioned earlier) that helps him and his team. He also has the back of of Quenneville, despite the benching.
“Nick is going to give us some speed, give us some pace,” Quenneville told the media, “He has that quickness to his game that we’d like to be part of our team as well.”
And of course, in the words of the man himself, “It would make you mad. Like I said, it’s out of my control. I just have to be ready to go.”
It’s obvious that Leddy wants to play well. But playing poorly in the second round of the playoffs isn’t going to get you in the good graces of a coach who benches a player out of the slightest dissatisfaction. Leddy needs to take this benching and turn it into motivation to play better.