Blackhawks breakdown: Johnny Oduya

774198.png

Blackhawks breakdown: Johnny Oduya

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.

After joining the Blackhawks from the Winnipeg Jets in a trade deadline deal on Feb. 27, Johnny Oduya played in 18 games and scored one goal with four assists and a plus-3 rating. He was credited with 11 hits and 42 blocked shots in the regular season. In the six playoff games vs. Phoenix, Oduya picked up three assists and finished plus-1. He was credited with 10 hits and 10 blocked shots in the series.

Boden's take: Oduya was this years Chris Campoli. General manager Stan Bowman talked of adding defensive help at the trade deadline, and he did it for the second straight year. Oduyas impact was immediate (after Toronto scored on his first Blackhawks shift), as he moved the puck, blocked some shots, and added a handful of points after his acquisition from Winnipeg. He also made Nick Leddy better. An argument could be made that his addition was the biggest key for how well the team played down the stretch to secure a playoff spot. But his impact lessened as time went on, and he struggled during the playoff series against Phoenix -- not that he was the only one.

Myers' take: When the Blackhawks picked up the former Jets defenseman at the deadline, it was met with some skepticism. But it didn't take long to see that Oduya was a good fit with this group. Oduya helped balance out a defense that sorely needed it, adding a veteran touch and taking the weight off the young defensemen's (Leddy and Dylan Olsen) shoulders. Duncan Keith spoke highly of him all season. So did Patrick Kane, who loved the long out passes that Oduya was able to throw his way. Alas, as good as Oduya was during the regular-season stretch run, he was that invisible during the postseason.

2012-13 Expectations

Boden: It would be nice to have Oduya back, but not at the price tag he carried in 2011-12 (3.5 million) as he enters unrestricted free agency. This team has only about 6 million to spend under the existing salary cap, which might shrink. On top of that, his game is a lot like the existing defensive corps (outside of Brent Seabrook) and the Hawks already have some hefty financial commitments beyond the top pair (Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador). Unless one of those two isnt back, you know how I believe the Hawks should invest -- or swap for -- on the back end if youve read any of these other individual defensive assessments (size and toughness). Thats also counting upon Leddy to be a more consistent, improved puck-mover as well.

Myers: Much like last season, when they got Campoli at the deadline, the Blackhawks will probably look to sign Oduya to another deal. At least that's what Bowman said at the season-ending media day. Oduya will come at a higher price than Campoli would have after earning 3.5 million last season. He did bring good balance, and the Blackhawks need that again next season. But if the Hawks get to the postseason, Oduya has to be more noticeable.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out highlights of Oduya above.

Up next: Bryan Bickell

Sky beat Atlanta to advance to WNBA semis

vandersloot-0925.jpg

Sky beat Atlanta to advance to WNBA semis

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Courtney Vandersloot scored 21 points with 13 assists, Jessica Breland had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and the Chicago Sky beat the Atlanta Dream 108-98 on Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs.

The Sky broke it open in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Tamera Young made fast-break layups on consecutive possessions during Chicago's 10-2 run to start the quarter for a 66-52 lead. Atlanta was outscored 31-20 in the quarter.

Chicago cruised in the fourth — setting a season-high for points — and will face Los Angeles in a best-of-five series beginning Wednesday in LA.

Reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne missed her sixth straight game for Chicago with a thumb injury but it didn't seem to faze the Sky on the offensive end. Chicago had 26 assists, made 55 percent of its shots, and Young and Cappie Pondexter each scored 16 points.

Chicago set a WNBA record for the most points in the first quarter of a playoff game when the Sky built a 37-25 lead. But Angel McCoughtry kept the Dream within 56-50 at halftime after scoring 21 points, including 10 of Atlanta's first 14 points.

Tiffany Hayes, who didn't play in the first round due to a one-game suspension for accrued technicals in the regular season, scored 30 points for Atlanta. McCoughtry finished with 27 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler was in attendance wearing a Cubs jersey.

Rory McIlroy wins Tour Championship, FedEx Cup in dramatic fashion

9-25_rory_mcilroy.jpg

Rory McIlroy wins Tour Championship, FedEx Cup in dramatic fashion

ATLANTA (AP) -- Rory McIlroy finally won the FedEx Cup when he least expected it.

McIlroy was three shots behind with three holes to play Sunday in the Tour Championship. Nearly two hours later, he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to win at East Lake in a playoff and claim the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

In its 10th year, the FedEx Cup never had a finish like this.

McIlroy won on the 16th hole, where his stunning rally began in regulation when he holed out from 137 yards for eagle and then made birdie on the final hole for a 64 to join a three-man playoff with Ryan Moore (64) and Kevin Chappell (66).

Chappell was eliminated with a par on the first extra hole.