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Joel Quenneville sees John Scott improving

Updated: December 14, 2011 8:38AM

In his third game with the Blackhawks last season, defenseman John Scott almost reached 17 minutes of ice time by taking 21 shifts in a victory against the Buffalo Sabres. After that, his ice time reached 10 minutes only twice.

This season, the 6-8 enforcer has averaged more than 10 minutes in the Hawks’ last three games after barely playing in the first four games he dressed.

Judging by reaction on Twitter, some fans seem puzzled — even outraged — by coach Joel Quenneville’s use of Scott. But Quenneville likes Scott and believes he has improved. Plus, the players like when the always affable Scott is in the lineup.

“He hasn’t had much of a chance to play on ‘D’ in a long time,” Quenneville said. “If he keeps improving like he has in skating and his mobility, he looks like there is room to grow in his game back there. He’s got the long reach. He moves the pucks alright. He looks for direct plays. I think given a little bit more ice time, hopefully he can continue to improve and help us.”

Here comes Khabby

The Hawks are expected to face ex-Hawk Nikolai Khabibulin when they host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. The Oilers have lost three of their last four games, but Khabibulin has been key in their surprisingly successful start.

The Russian goalie is 7-0-1 with a .957 save percentage and 1.18 goals-against average.

Awaiting word

The Hawks didn’t practice Saturday, so center Dave Bolland’s status won’t be known until after the morning skate Sunday. Bolland is wearing a walking boot on his right foot.

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