Johnny Oduya suffered broken foot in finale vs. Kings

Written By BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter Posted: 08/21/2014, 06:57am

Defenseman Johnny Oduya showed up at the Blackhawks’ fan convention Friday at the Hilton Chicago sporting a thick beard and shaved temples. It was almost enough to distract people from noticing the walking boot on his right foot.

‘‘See? That’s smart,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s why I have it.’’

It turns out Oduya broke his foot blocking a shot from the point late in the third period of Game 7 of the Western Conference final against the Los Angeles Kings. He kept playing in overtime anyway, logging three shifts.

‘‘It’s usually not that bad,’’ Oduya said. ‘‘Once you take the skate off, it blows up on you. It would have been tougher afterward.’’

Coach Joel Quenneville said after the season that Oduya might not have been able to play in the Stanley Cup Final had the Hawks won. Oduya said he would have tried.

Saad story

One of the major salary-cap X-factors for the 2015-16 season — when the matching $10.5 million cap hits for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane kick in — is winger Brandon Saad. The 21-year-old will be a restricted free agent after the coming season and is due for a massive raise from the $764,167 he’s making on his entry-level contract.

Saad said there have been no talks about an extension yet — not that he’s concerned.

‘‘If it happens, great,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s always nice to have that security and feel comfortable that you’ve re-signed. But I’m more focused on having a good year and contributing to the team. All that stuff will take care of itself.’’

General manager Stan Bowman said that ‘‘it’s been a busy time for us’’ and that Saad’s situation will be addressed eventually.

‘‘The exciting thing for all of us is that he just keeps getting better,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘We certainly haven’t seen the best of Brandon Saad yet.’’

Staff change

Kevin Dineen never has been an assistant coach before, and he wasn’t planning on starting this season. After being fired by the Florida Panthers in November, Dineen had been hoping to line up another head-coaching job for 2014-15.

‘‘I got left without a seat at that table,’’ he said. ‘‘You start evaluating what your next step is.’’

When he heard Jamie Kompon was leaving the Hawks to become the coach and GM of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, Dineen jumped at the chance to join his old Hartford Whalers teammate on Quenneville’s staff.

‘‘We had a couple of real good candidates,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘There were 1,000 people who wanted to be here, like players.’’

Dineen, who had 355 goals and 405 assists in 1,188 career games, will focus on the power play, as Kompon did.

‘‘I come from an offensive background,’’ Dineen said. ‘‘As far as specifics to get into, I like talent. I like skill, and there’s a bucketload of it here. Working with this group of players, it’s so exciting.’’

Net gain

Corey Crawford will have his third goalie coach in three seasons, but the transition to Jimmy Waite shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, Waite is the brother of Stephane Waite, Crawford’s goalie coach from the start of his NHL career until last summer.

‘‘For 20 years, we’ve been talking goalies all the time,’’ Jimmy Waite said. ‘‘So Stephane and I think about the game the same way. I’m my own person, but we do think the same way about goaltending.’’


Twitter: @MarkLazerus

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