Hawks’ Steve Montador beginning to feel more comfortable
BY BEN MEYER-ABBOTT email@example.com October 8, 2011 12:14AM
Updated: November 16, 2011 11:07AM
Defenseman Steve Montador didn’t have the type of camp he wanted, especially after signing a four-year, $11 million contract as a free agent.
‘‘It was about average,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t anything special, it wasn’t anything terrible, it was just kind of blah. I know I’ve gotten better, and I’m glad [camp] is over.’’
Montador seemed to embrace turning the page with a strong blast from the point midway through the first period and an assist on a goal by Patrick Sharp in the third. After playing only 9:34 in the season opener Friday in Dallas, he was a plus-2 in 15:13 on Saturday against the Stars at the United Center.
‘‘We used him a little bit [Friday] on the back end and up front,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘I thought he played his best since he’s been here. He had two good practices going into [these games], so I think he’s getting comfortable with the new surroundings, system and [teammates].’’
Marcus Kruger centered the fourth line and had an assist Saturday after being recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League despite a disappointing camp.
Brandon Pirri was assigned to Rockford after playing 15:43 and notching an assist Friday.
Right wing Ben Smith (concussion) didn’t skate Saturday, but Quenneville said he was ‘‘progressing.’’
◆ The Hawks will unveil statues of Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita before their game Oct. 22 against the Avalanche.