Bears

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

Under Center Podcast: Bears trounced by Saints, and questions abound

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USA Today Sports

Under Center Podcast: Bears trounced by Saints, and questions abound

Laurence Holmes is joined by Olin Kreutz, Matt Forte, Lance Briggs, and Alex Brown to break down the Bears' highly dispiriting 36-25 loss to the Saints at Soldier Field. The guys discuss why the loss was so disappointing and frustrating (2:00), the lack of progress for many players since last year (5:00), the possibility of somebody other than Nagy calling plays (10:00), whether the Bears can save their season and still make the playoffs (14:00), and the massive problems in the run game this season (22:00).

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Another lackluster return from Mitch Trubisky leaves the Bears offense in a state of panic

Another lackluster return from Mitch Trubisky leaves the Bears offense in a state of panic

Given Sunday’s parallels to the Bears’ 2018 clunker against the Rams, the spotlight on QB Mitch Trubisky may have been even brighter against the Saints than it usually is – which is saying something. 

Four quarters, 250 yards and one blowout loss later, the only thing that’s changed is that the Bears no longer have the luxury of hiding another subpar performance from their franchise quarterback behind a monstrous, game-changing defense. Trubisky’s numbers against New Orleans look better on paper, but the eye test told a much different – or similar, technically – story. 

“It's hard to pinpoint it,” he said after the 36-25 loss. “Just frustrating, ugly. Couldn't swing momentum in our way – couldn't really get going. Just sputtered out. We've just got to find ways to stay on the field, especially after 3rd down and move the chains and get going."

“I want to go back, watch and see like progression-wise [how he did],” Matt Nagy added. “I know there's one there early in the game where we missed a corner route on 3rd down, and Mitch knows -- he knows that he can connect on that. We've connected on it a lot in practice.” 

That specific miss sums up much of what’s plagued Trubisky through his time in Chicago. On 3rd-and-6, with Taylor Gabriel finding separation on a 20-yard corner route, the QB rushes through his throwing motion and misses an easy first down. 

“I'm going to go back and watch it because that's one of my favorite throws,” Trubisky said. “And I hit that every single time this week in practice, so why it didn't translate to the game is really frustrating for me. I felt like that's an easy throw that I make easily, and I just wasn't on the same page and didn't put it in the spot to give my guy a chance.” 

Another miss – this time overthrowing Anthony Miller on a seam route – provided a great example of the communication issues that have plagued the passing game. Miller had a step on two defenders, but according to Nagy and Trubisky, cut in on the route when the play directed that he cut out. 

“That's one of Anthony's really good routes that he runs,” Trubisky said. “And he separates and gets open, and I just felt like I had to get the ball out within that time because they created pressure up front. Someone slipped through, and from what I can remember, he just went inside, so I tried to throw a tight seam and give him a chance. But I was on the ground after that, so I'm going to have to go back on the film and watch it and correct it.” 

“Those are plays that you look at and you just -- you'd like to convert on those and connect.,” added Nagy.

The coach also conceded that Trubisky looked rusty on some throws, but was quick to credit the quarterback for making others (he didn’t specify which). Still, silver linings were little consolation to the Bears on Sunday night, and will continue to mean less and less as the season goes on. For being a team that supposedly has great weeks of practice, plenty of questions remain about where all that goes on Sundays. 

“Why it's not translating, I don't have a theory,” Trubisky added. “All I know is, go back to work and make sure that you put in all that work during the week to make sure it translates.”

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