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Blackhawks activate Steve Montador, demote Brandon Bollig

Chicago Blackhawks Headshots

Chicago Blackhawks Headshots

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Updated: April 8, 2013 7:56AM

The stingiest defense in the NHL just got even deeper.

The Blackhawks activated
defenseman Steve Montador on Wednesday, adding an eighth blue-liner to the roster. Montador hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on March 27 of last season. Forward Brandon Bollig was sent down to Rockford to clear the room on the roster.

Coach Joel Quenneville couldn’t be much happier with his defense. (Entering the game Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche, the Hawks had yielded a league-low 44 goals through 23 games.) But when it comes down to it, an extra defenseman is likely to be more valuable than an extra forward down the stretch.

‘‘Never have enough D,’’ Quenne-
ville said. ‘‘I know that’s one area and one position where your depth is going to get challenges over the course of the season.’’

Montador wasn’t in the lineup against the Avalanche, and Quenne-
ville hadn’t decided if he would accompany the team Thursday to Denver for the back end of the home-and-home Friday. But whenever Montador plays, Quenneville knows it’ll be a hard decision. Offseason additions Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank have been splitting time at the No. 6 defenseman spot alongside Nick Leddy, and each has played well. Rozsival has seven assists and is a plus-11.

‘‘The first seven we’re playing to date were playing extremely well,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘When I have to sit one out right now, it’s always a tough decision. They’re all deserving of playing, and we’ll see with Monty working his way in. Certainly the group that’s been playing right now, we’ve been very happy with. We’ll see how it progresses.’’

The Hawks have been fortunate to have had a healthy defense this season, which reached the halfway point Wednesday. Brent Seabrook has missed one game — the only game lost to injury on the Hawks’ blue line all season. But Quenne-
ville knows how quickly an injury can change things.

‘‘Defense is a position where you love depth,’’ he said. ‘‘This year, we’ve utilized all six that are in the lineup over the course of the game, where everybody gets more minutes than maybe in the past, a little more shared minutes. . . . Over the course of the season, sometimes the decisions are made for you, who’s in the lineup and how much they play. But so far nobody deserves to be out of the lineup.’’

Bollig played in 11 games, with no points and 40 penalty minutes as the Hawks’ primary enforcer. Quenneville said he’s not worried about a lack of toughness without Bollig, singling out Daniel Carcillo, Jamal Mayers and Brookbank as guys who can fill that role.

‘‘We have some toughness,’’ he said. ‘‘We have some internal toughness, as well. We’ve got a competitive group. We want to be harder to play against — not necessarily
being a fighter, but just playing hard on the puck and being resilient in that area.’’

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