Blackhawks breakdown: Sean O'Donnell

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Blackhawks breakdown: Sean O'Donnell

Over the next five weeks, CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sean O'Donnell, 40, appeared in 51 games and averaged 13 minutes and 31 seconds of ice time per game. He did not score a goal and finished with seven assists. O'Donnell registered 46 hits, 44 blocked shots and 23 penalty minutes while finishing minus-6. He played in Games 1 and 4 of the playoff series vs. Phoenix, failing to record a point while going minus-3 with one hit and two blocked shots.

Boden's take: ODonnell and the coaching staff found themselves in a Catch-22 situation with the 40-year-old defenseman. They wanted him for depth, and the price (850,000) was right for a veteran of 104 playoff games, including a Stanley Cup. But they also wanted to preserve him from injury so he could be available for what was expected to be a longer postseason run. Whether ODonnells game simply slipped noticeably from his previous 15-plus NHL seasons or he just couldnt get into the right rhythm by suiting up for just 51 games, it didnt work out. You could see what the Hawks were thinking with the move, but the spot duty resulted in spotty play. He was a good voice for the locker room, and became the wise spokesman on more than one occasion even when he wasnt playing regularly. Hes an interesting guy to listen to, always willing to share his thoughts when asked, drawing on an NHL career that began in 1994-95 with the Los Angeles Kings.

Myers' take: Another veteran the Blackhawks hoped would bring depth to the defensemen corps, ODonnell did that for part of the season. Bringing more than 1,000 career games and Cup experience, ODonnell was a great locker-room presence. But on the ice, it looked like the seasons were catching up to ODonnell. Theres no doubting his hockey smarts, but time has slowed him.

2012-13 Expectations

Chris: Like another veteran brought in to fill a more regular role up front in Andrew Brunette, ODonnells Blackhawks career will be one-and-done. Their salary cap space will be more limited than a year ago, requiring greater impact in the depth they need to add this time around.

Tracey: Will the 40-year-old ODonnell play another NHL season? Thats uncertain at this point. Either way, it seems unlikely that hell play another game in a Blackhawks uniform. ODonnell is a great ambassador of the game; and if his playing days are over, hed make a great front-office presence for someone.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below.

Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador

Up next: Brent Seabrook

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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