CHICAGO -- Johnny Oduya's interest level in talking about himself falls somewhere just below lacing his skates.
Which is exactly what the Blackhawks defenseman was methodically doing while trying to explain why he is not high on his list of discussion topics.
"It's not one of my favorite things," Oduya said of giving interviews. "Some guys like it a little bit more than others. I tend to try to stay in the back as much as I can. I feel more comfortable just minding my own business.
"I try to figure out what I need to do to help the team and be a good team player. It's been a good fit here and it's been working, so I don't think I'm going to change that anytime soon."
To those who know the Stockholm native best, Oduya apparently is much more vocal than the image he displays when shying from the media.
"He's actually not that quiet," said Hawks teammate Sheldon Brookbank, who also played with Oduya with the Devils in 2007-08. "His English is really good, so don't let him fool you on that.
"He just does his business. He's really dedicated to the game. He prepares every day and really takes care of himself. He battles hard out there."
Eventually, the last lace was pulled taut, and Oduya set down the skates and began to open up when discussing the joys of winning a Stanley Cup last season -- his seventh in the NHL.
"It validates the work you put in," Oduya, 31, said. "At least now I know I'm good enough to be part of a championship team, which is always a confident feeling.
"I know I have to keep working. I'm not at that retiring age anytime soon -- I hope -- so I want to keep getting better and grow with our team too. We want to get better too, same as last year."
Since joining the team via a trade with the Jets on Feb. 27, 2012, Oduya has been a steady -- if not quiet -- force on the blue line, staying out of the limelight while making sure pucks stay out of the Hawks' net.
"He's got consistency to his game, not flashy, steady, reliable, dependable," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He just keeps doing it and not a lot of fanfare. Not a big point producer, but he sees plays offensively, can make plays (and) has a decent shot.
"On the back end, when you get guys that day in and day out do the same thing and get the job done, it makes you a solid team, and he does that for us."
With a Cup under his belt and about to enter the second year of a three-year, $10.15 million contract, Oduya is secure with his game but wants to keep improving.
"I'm satisfied and happy with what happened last year, but you have to progress and try to move forward," he said. "Otherwise, it's going to be tough to play in this league. Everybody gets better all the time. Everybody wants to, especially now, come after you and beat you.
"For me and in general with our team, we're going to put last year behind us and start new -- start working again. We know that we're good enough, but we have to be working hard. That's pretty much the bottom line."
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