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Sami Lepisto keeps a happy face on while waiting for ice time

Oft-scratched Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepis(20) saw some actiagainst Oilers Monday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Oft-scratched Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto (20) saw some action against the Oilers on Monday. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 4, 2012 11:43AM

It’s a good sign that defenseman Sami Lepisto manages to smile when approached about being in or out of the lineup. He has a positive attitude, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenne­ville respects him for it.

With Steve Montador hurt and Sean O’Donnell coming off a rough game against the Detroit Red Wings, Lepisto and John Scott made up the Hawks’ third defensive pairing Monday against the Edmonton Oilers.

It was Lepisto’s 11th game this season. No player has endured more healthy scratches for the Hawks.

“It’s a tough spot to be in every day, trying to get excited being at practice or a game,” Quenneville said. “Everybody wants to play, and everybody wants to have some success and contribute to the team.

“But his attitude has been fine because he works hard every day 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 he’s handled it.”

Monday’s game was the first time Lepisto played with Scott since the preseason. But Lepisto said he doesn’t alter his approach based on whom he’s paired with. In his previous two games, he played with Montador, the Hawks’ fifth defenseman most of the season.

“[Scott is] a big body, and I’m sure everybody is aware of him out there,” said Lepisto, who was on the ice with Scott for the Oilers’ third goal. “[But] it’s still the same game. We have to move the puck and still make plays for the forwards. It changes a little bit because he’s a big guy, but it’s still a hockey game. I just try to play my game.”

Lepisto, who played 5:22, said it’s not easy sitting and watching so much.

“But like I said before, you just have to try to keep your [positive attitude] up and work hard,” Lepisto said. “Otherwise, you’re screwed.”

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