Didn't do one yesterday, so I'll give you two today.
#20 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks
Oct 17, 1984
|2011 - Sami Lepisto||26||1||2||3||3||4||0||0||0||19|
The Good: Uh....Well, in all honesty, once Sami got a run of games when injuries hit Montador and Hjalmarsson, he wasn't bad at all. He wasn't great, but a #7 defenseman isn't supposed to be. With consistent playing time, though it never capped 10 minutes per game, Sami was generally solid, and usually unnoticeable, which is kind of what you want out of that role. He had better feet than the other guys rotating in on the bottom pair, and could actually get a shot through from the point on the rare occasions that he was allowed to try. But that was only a couple weeks worth.
The Bad: I feel like a lot of what follows will be harsh on Sami, because he was handled so poorly. But in the first half of the season, when he was getting one game per month, every time he got on the ice he was clearly pressing and trying to prove he was worthy of more time. So there were some bad turnovers, some bad decisions, and sometimes getting mauled physically. And of course, when one of these happened he was stapled to the bench and the packaged back to the pressbox for another three weeks. Got a lot of blame for performances in the playoffs, however Hjalmarsson had left him out to dry a couple times and the Hawks two wins came with Sami in the lineup. Not that the two are really connected.
Stick Around Or Hit The Bricks: I can't fathom that Sami would want to stay and play for Joel Quenneville ever again, having watched John Scott dress ahead of him so often. And that's if there was any interest from Stan Bowman to bring him back. Still, you need 7-8 d-men, and if the coach could dislodge his cranium from his prostate, he'd figure out that Sami is a serviceable 7-8th guy. But that ain't gonna happen.
#6 / Defenseman / Chicago Blackhawks
Oct 31, 1971
|2011 - Sean O`Donnell||51||0||7||7||-6||23||0||0||0||30|
The Good: Hmmm, hang on, I'll get this. There's got to be something. I guess October wasn't bad? Maybe? Something like that.
The Bad: Again, harsh on O.D a touch because of the way he was handled. i'm sure the idea was that Old Donald would play about 50 games, sprinkled throughout the season, and be ready for the playoffs. It didn't work like that. O.D. played every game in the first half of the season, which was far too heavy a workload for a d-man north of 40. He then was sat for basically the last two months of the year, and then expected to hop in to the playoff crusher without looking like he'd missed a beat. Still, OD's lack of movement was an issue, as was his sometimes suspect puck handling. Brought in to be a meatbag on the penalty kill and bottom pairing, and basically the Hawks got a meatbag.
Contract Status: UFA
Stick Around or Hit The Bricks: Well, this probably isn't a decision anyone in the organization is going to have to make, because O'Donnell is likely to retire. In the summer, I liked this signing, given that he was used in the proper fashion. He wasn't, but he didn't make that any easier with his play on the ice. Considering that Toews and Kane will be entering their sixth year next season, the need for "veteran" leadership should really be less if apparent at all, and a player like O.D. shouldn't be needed in the room. I say shouldn't. Doesn't mean it won't. But if it is, they'll get it from someone else.