Hearing the name Jordan Hendry sounds like nails on a chalkboard to some Blackhawks fans. The cringing starts when people do not see his name appear under “Healthy Scratch” before a game.
Since the 19-year-old defenseman Nick Leddy was demoted to the American Hockey League (AHL), the 'Hawks have leaned more heavily on Hendry, who has by no means put up unbelievable numbers. Yet coach Joel Quenneville, despite everyone’s opinion, wants Hendry on the ice more this season.
But with little more than 10 minutes in eleven shifts in Monday night’s game, Hendry is still seeing the same amount of ice time. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook still control the "time on ice" category for the Blackhawks. For his own sake and the team's, Hendry must come to play every night—starting now.
The Blackhawks have encountered countless dilemmas since the day after they won the Stanley Cup. Beginning the season with injuries and suspension to the defense has only added to this mess.
So far, Marty Turco has had to make a great number of saves in order to get the win. He has already faced two games of 40 or more shots on goal. Last season, the Blackhawks goalies never faced as many as 40 shots on goal until the anticipation of the postseason finally came.
With the Cup champions still battling exhaustion from last season, Hendry’s time has come to step up his game and prove to fans and the organization why he is here in Chicago. Granted, Hendry also played in the Stanley Cup Finals, but he did not clock the time and effort that the rest of the team's defensemen did.
And Chicago's defensive struggles continue, as nearly all hockey fans can clearly see in the "shots against" column at the end of each game.
The Blackhawks are getting what they need from their top three defensemen at the moment, and even a little more than anticipated from Nick Boynton. But still, Keith and Seabrook must frequently pick up the inefficiency caused by the absent defensemen.
At this moment, Hendry must show what he is made of to keep a spot on the roster—nothing is permanent. Unless Hendry can be what the Blackhawks need, Leddy could be back at any time.
Mikal Elyse is a Featured Columnist for bleacherrreport.com and co-owner of chicagosportsauthority.com
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