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Scott realizes his skating has to improve

Hawks enforcer John Scott will have tough guy Jamal Mayers (right) as teammate. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Hawks enforcer John Scott will have tough guy Jamal Mayers (right) as a teammate. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 17, 2011 2:26AM

Blackhawks defenseman John Scott didn’t get as many opportunities as he hoped for last season. He played in only 40 games and averaged six minutes.

With the addition of Jamal Mayers and Daniel Carcillo, Scott might see even less ice time in the enforcer role this season. But general manager Stan Bowman said he’s open to giving Scott more playing time if he improves. With the trade of defenseman Brian Campbell, Scott might get some of the minutes Campbell would’ve gotten.

“They’re good. They go out and mix it up,” Scott said Friday of Mayers and Carcillo.

“But I finished last year pretty strong in the playoffs, and I think I bring something to the team that we need. Guys feel a little bit safer when I’m out there.”

With fewer and fewer heavyweights getting time in the NHL, the 6-8, 258-pound Scott hasn’t had as many chances to do what he does best — fight. Scott fought only eight times last season. But his teammates say they feel safer when he’s on the ice, whether he’s fighting or not.

“John’s still the biggest, strongest and toughest guy in the league,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “That’s pretty much well-known. We love having John on the team, and I think he’s going to be the ring leader among all those [new] guys.”

To get more consistent time, Scott knows his skating has to be better. He has struggled in the past and sometimes is a liability.

Scott said he started working with a skating coach about three weeks ago and plans to continue working with him until training camp.

“I focused on fighting too much,” Scott said. “I really need to get better with my hand and foot skills. I’ve been working hard all summer, but I’ve got to keep busting my butt so I can play in every game.”

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