It's been a while since Sami Lepisto has played. But with Steve Montador out with an upper-body injury, Lepisto and John Scott will make up the third defensive pairing for the Blackhawks Monday against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center.
Lepisto has played in only 10 of the Hawks' 38 games this season. He last played Dec. 11 against the San Jose Sharks before being a healthy scratch in eight consecutive games.
"It's tough," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's a tough spot to be in everyday trying to get excited being at practice or a game. It's another day. Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to have some success and contribute to the team.
"But I think his attitude has been fine because he works hard everyday on the ice. He skates through the extensive skates that they go through. He keeps pushing to keep his game ready. I've got to commend him for how's he's handled it."
Lepisto said it's not easy sitting out and watching so much.
"But I like said before, you just have to try to keep your [positive attitude] up and work hard," Lepisto said. "Otherwise, you're screwed."
Revenge a factor?
Quenneville doesn't have to remind the Hawks what happened last time they placed the Oilers. But he may have to tell them not to think about it too much.
"We want to be respectful for the opponent, knowing that we got spanked pretty well in all areas of that game," Quenneville said. "Just remember what happened and what could happen if we're not ready to play. At the end of the day, we want to have some purpose behind our game and not just worrying about trying to do what they did to us. Winning the game is paramount."
Hawks sign McNeill, Danault
The Hawks announced that 2011 first-round picks Mark McNeill (18th overall) and Phillip Danault (26th) signed their three-year, entry-level contracts. For the time being, they will remain with their junior teams.