Savard labels Williams a leader

SportsField HockeyLos Angeles KingsDetroit Red WingsMartin HavlatAdrian AucoinPatrick Sharp

Jason Williams was on the ice Friday morning about a half-hour earlier than he needed to be for the morning skate.

Williams wanted to go over where he needed to be in the Blackhawks' power-play alignment and that attention to detail wasn't lost on coach Denis Savard.

"I like everything that he brings to the team," Savard said of Williams.

Savard probably wasn't too thrilled with the hooking penalty Williams took late in the third period Friday that led to a power-play goal and a 2-1 victory for the Los Angeles Kings, handing the Hawks their fourth straight loss and fifth in their last six games.

Still, Savard thinks so highly of Williams that he had him wear a letter as one of the team's leaders Tuesday in Columbus.

Considering that it was only Williams' 10th game as a Hawk, the move was a bit surprising—but not to Savard.

"He has a lot of leadership ability," Savard said. "I like the way he is with our kids, I like the way he speaks up."

Savard said Williams asks questions during meetings, but not because he doesn't know the answer.

"He's not asking them for himself, he knows there are guys on our team who are not grasping some of the stuff, so he's asking for them," Savard said. "He has leadership qualities. I like his approach and how he prepares."

Coming up in the Detroit Red Wings organization, Williams was surrounded by some of the best leaders in the sport, starting with Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios. Williams came to the Hawks in a trade deadline deal with the Wings.

Going into Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Kings, Williams had three goals and five points in 11 games as a Hawk, although he is minus-6. He had 11 goals and 26 points in 58 games with the Red Wings.

Williams was as surprised as anyone about getting a letter in Columbus. With captain Adrian Aucoin back home for the birth of his son, Savard gave an "A" to Williams, Martin Havlat and Martin Lapointe.

"I grabbed my sweater and it felt heavier on one side," Williams said.

"It's a great honor and I take pride in it. I want to help this team as much as possible. If I can provide leadership, that's what I'll do."

One-timers

Patrick Sharp had his third goal in as many games Friday night for the Hawks' lone tally. … The victory was the first this season for the Kings over the Hawks, who won the season-series 3-1. … Peter Bondra, still having trouble with a nerve in his neck from the hit he suffered against Boston back on Dec. 29, was scratched for a third straight game. Jeff Hamilton also was scratched with a sore shoulder. … Savard wasn't concerned about Havlat's goal-scoring drought, which was extended to 11 games Friday. Savard said Havlat is hampered by not having a true No. 1 center to play with. "He needs help," Savard said. "We'll get him help."

rfoltman@tribune.com

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