Seriously, what does Sami Lepisto have to do to stay in the Blackhawks lineup?
After two okay games, Lepisto is again out of the lineup and will be replaced by John Scott.
So far this season Lepisto has appeared in a third of the Blackhawks games. He has been in the lineup for 10 of the Hawks' 30 games. Besides a stretch of five games when Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were banged up, he has never been in the lineup for more then two straight games.
Lepisto might not have impressed a lot while in the lineup, but he hasn't done anything to hurt the Hawks either. He has been a negative in only one game this season, but to be fair, there wasn't a single Hawk that was positive in that game.
Taking away that game in Calgary, he has been even or on the positive side in the other nine games.
Let's look at the two guys that have been fighting with Lepisto for that sixth defensemen spot.
First let's look at the guy who will be in the lineup tonight appearing in his 14th game, John Scott. This will be Scott's 10th game on defense. The one thing these two have in common is the fact that neither has tallied a point yet this year. However, while Lepisto is a plus-4, Scott is a minus-2. To break it down further, Scott is a minus-1 while skating on defense and a minus-1 while skating as a forward. Now while Scott hasn't been awful on defense, he hasn't really done much to help the team either.
Now we come to Sean O'Donnell, who unlike Lepisto and Scott has tallied a few points. O'Donnell has four points on the season but he is a minus-5 in the 20 games he has played in. He has only been a positive in five games and four of those are where he tallied an assist. How bad would his rating be if he wasn't on the ice for those goals?
O'Donnell might be a great locker room guy, but at 40 years old, how much does he have left in the tank?
Out of the Hawks' eight defensemen, only two have a negative rating and they are Scott and O'Donnell.
I believe everyone knows what the Hawks have in Scott and if they are relying on O'Donnell they could find themselves in trouble.
With Lepisto, 27, there is still some upside and I believe he could be the answer to a lot of the team's defensive problems.
Now I will admit that Coach Quenneville is usually right about his lineups, but I have some serious doubts about this. It was easy to see that Jordan Hendry and Cam Barker didn't fit on this team in years past, but that isn't the case here.
I'm not at practice and I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but Lepisto passes the eye test during games while Scott and O'Donnell don't.
I would recommend that Quenneville take a lesson from the Denver Broncos. They inserted Tim Tebow to see what he could do and if he couldn't handle the job, at least it would prove to the fans that he couldn't.
Now this isn't completely the same thing. I'd say at least give Lepisto the same chance you have given to others to succeed or fail.
Before general manager Stan Bowman goes out and trades for a defenseman, how about we see if we don't already have that guy on the roster.
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