Oduya brings defense, excitement to Chicago

Monday, 02.27.2012 / 4:13 PM CT
By Brad Boron - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
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When the Johnny Oduya found out he was bound for Chicago, one emotion topped all others upon hearing the news.

“Excitement,” recalls Oduya, who spoke with reporters Monday, hours after the trade that sent him from Winnipeg to Chicago. “You don’t want to leave your friends and your teammates behind after battling beside them all year, but my first thought was excitement.

“[The Blackhawks are] a Cup contender every year, a really good team, and it’s a great place to play. It’s a tough arena for opponents to come in and play; I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s a great hockey town.”

The 30-year-old Swedish defenseman is known primarily as a puck-mover, but has spent significant time on the Jets’ penalty kill unit as well; Oduya averaged more than 2 minutes per game shorthanded for Winnipeg, fourth-best on their roster. In addition, his 98 blocked shots were second-best on the Jets.

“I would say I’m a better penalty killer than I am on the power play,” he said. “I have some [offensive] skill, but maybe more 5-on-5, where I can use my skating. I have played on the PK my whole career, and I think I can do a fairly good job. I’m not a physical guy, but I can position well and block shots.”

Oduya, who has registered 109 points (22G, 87A) in 445 career regular-season games, will be in uniform when the Blackhawks practice Tuesday morning, and looks forward to the new challenge that lays ahead for him.

“This is brand-new for me,” he said. “I’m going to take it as it comes… play hard, and just go with that. More than anything, I’m really excited to go to Chicago.”