Chicago Sun-Times

On the record: Blackhawks d-man Sami Lepisto talks about sitting out; may play vs. Islanders

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- On Nov. 18, defenseman Sami Lepisto was a minus-2 in the Blackhawks' 5-2 defeat against the Calgary Flames on the circus trip. It was his last time in the lineup.

But it looks like Lepisto, who is a plus-4 in eight games this season, will play for the Hawks Thursday against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Lepisto "could" play, but John Scott, Sean O'Donnell and Bryan Bickell were on the ice 30 minutes after the Hawks' morning skate concluded Thursday, which is typically a sign of who the scratches are for the game that night.

Lepisto, who signed a one-year deal with the Hawks this summer, has been a healthy scratch in 12 of the last 14 games. Here's what Lepisto had to say about his current situation:

On his mentality while being scratched often:

"Of course, it's frustrating. There's no denying that. But what can you do? You just have to try to be better at practice and hopefully get a break."

On whether coach Joel Quenneville has spoken to him about what he wants to see:

"Just try to work hard a practice. We don't really talk that much but certain areas."

Regarding how he played when he was in the lineup:

"It was OK. Obviously, I haven't played the best I can. I realize that. But I can always be better. I should be better. I'm not sure if I was terrible in my opinion. But it's the coaches' choices. I just try to be better at practice."

On if he's hanging in there mentally:

"Of course, it's frustrating to have to sit out that long. But what can you do? I have to battle through it. Like I said before, it's not the first time I've been here. It hasn't been this much before. I just have to try to be better and try to catch a break."

On if he has regrets signing with the Hawks:

"Of course, that's I wanted. I wanted to play. But I don't really regret what I've done. I can't change anything. With how I've been playing, of course I'd like to take a couple plays back.

"Obviously, I wanted to come here. I don't regret that at all."

On being part of an eight-player blue line:

"Everybody realizes who are the top guys and who are not. We have eight guys here. Everybody is playing OK. So it's tough."

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Thanks for the update, Adam. You're outhustling the other beat reporters. Good win tonight and Emery played well. Never expected that watching him in preseason. I hope Q plays the hot hand and stays with him in goal.

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Adam L. Jahns is a native Chicagoan hailing from the Far Northwest Side. Jahns has been with the Sun-Times since 2005, covering the Hawks since 2009. He's also helped cover the Bears, Cubs, Sox and high schools.

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