LeBlanc eager to soak it all in with Blackhawks
Drew LeBlanc walked into the United Center with Jonathan Toews on Monday night.
When LeBlanc will skate with Toews and the rest of the Blackhawks remains open ended. He will practice with the team but isn't expecting to play.
"No, I'm here to work hard, have fun, take it all in, and learn what it's like to be a professional," LeBlanc said. "Get as many pointers as possible."
The St. Cloud State senior center won the Hobey Baker award as the best player in NCAA hockey Friday and a few hours later signed a one-year contract with the Hawks.
Because he is 23, a one-year deal is all the Hawks could offer, but it sounded as if LeBlanc wants to stay around after he becomes a restricted free agent this summer.
"This is a professional organization from the top down," LeBlanc said. "They have a good reputation for developing young players, and I hope to be one of those guys.
"There's nothing that hasn't impressed me, I think is the correct answer there. The guys have been great and the coaching staff has been great."
LeBlanc, who is considered a playmaking center after leading the nation in assists, participated in Monday's optional morning skate on his first day with the Hawks.
"From my understanding if you sign after the trade deadline you can't be sent to the AHL," LeBlanc said. "So this is a great opportunity for me, a great experience just to learn and have fun and relax a little bit."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville sounded like he would be looking for spots to perhaps get LeBlanc in a game or two down the stretch.
"We'll see with him," Quenneville said. "This is a good chance for him to get some practice time and get acclimated to our team game and the NHL pace. No promises when he'll play, but hopefully we get a chance to get him in there.
"He's got some skill. He's got a real nice set of hands and a good feel offensively. He sees plays and makes plays and has a quick stick.
"Watching him today you can see him on the offensive side of things be pretty handy or pretty nifty. He accomplished a lot winning the Hobey Baker, so I imagine he's got some nice tools."
Sharp out again:
Patrick Sharp missed his second straight game Monday with a shoulder injury that has bothered him for more than a month.
Joel Quenneville doesn't think it's anything that could slow Sharp going forward to the playoffs.
"We expect him on the ice (Tuesday), so we'll say day to day," Quenneville said. "I think there's enough time for him to get ready. Be it practice, he'll be skating and there should be ample time to get going."
The power play went into Monday's game 0-for-15 in the last eight games.
"The power play was close a few times (Sunday), but it's frustrating because we're not getting the results we want, but that's life," Jonathan Toews said.
"We'll keep working at it, and we know that we have a lot of skill and eventually it's got to go our way."
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