Try as one might, it was difficult to get Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy to admit after Friday morning's practice just how tough it was on him to have to watch most of Wednesday's thrilling Game 4 from the Hawks' bench.
For whatever reason, and the guesses are numerous, Leddy was the odd man out Wednesday, taking just 4 shifts on the night for a total of 2:37 of ice time as coach Joel Quenneville opted to go with a five-man rotation on defense.
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This after Leddy averaged nearly 19 minutes of ice time in his four previous games.
"I'm not really sure," Leddy said, when asked about his reduced ice time in Boston. "It could've been just how the game was going. But my focus isn't on that, it's more on just being ready."
And no matter how many different ways he was asked or how creatively the questions were phrased, the 22-year-old defenseman deflected the inquiries, responding each time -- in one form or another -- that his main goal was to stay focused and be ready for Game 5.
But across the room, Andrew Shaw knew just what his good buddy was going through and offered a little insight.
"It's tough. It's happened to me in my career. It happens to everyone," Shaw said. "It's something you work past, push yourself to get better and work harder.
"He's a great player and he knows that. He's great offensively and defensively; he's got speed -- he's just got to get that confidence going."
On Friday, Quenneville offered up a slightly more detailed answer when asked again about Leddy's lack of ice time in Game 4.
"I think as the game progressed last game, not getting him out there against the matchup that we were looking for was there, too," Quenneville said. "Then late in the game we didn't go there.
"I thought the five guys in our rotation were getting the job done."
The good news for Leddy is that it looks like Quenneville is going to try to find him more ice time for Game 5 at the United Center.
"I think we expect Nick to get back to playing more," he said. "We'll look forward to getting him more involved."
And one thing for is for sure, when Leddy's number is called, you know that he'll be ready ... and focused.