Campbell coming along
On Friday, it looked like Brian Campbell was going to be a healthy scratch, as he had skated outside the top three defensive pairings for the last couple of practices. But Coach Q pulled one over on all of us by dressing seven defensemen and listing Campbell as a forward on the third line. That didn’t happen.
Instead, Campbell was substituted in along with the other six defensemen on a rotating basis all night. Everybody was playing shifts with everybody. Apparently Q is trying to figure something out, and he thought it would be best to do his experimentation against the lowly Blue Jackets. How did that work out for you, Coach Q?
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It seemed as if Campbell was tasked with defending Brandon Saad, and he did a great job of keeping up with him and thwarting a few great opportunities by the ex-Chicago Blackhawk. This won him a spot on the first pairing alongside Duncan Keith on Saturday. He had a great game. He earned primary assists on an Anisimov goal as well as a tally by Motte. He also was credited with the secondary assist on Panik’s game tying goal. That’s three assists in one game, people.
Campbell must be a bit frustrated, as he is being forced to play on his off-side. He, Michal Kempny, and Forsling are all left-handed shots, so it makes sense to have the veteran play his off-side instead of the newbies. But he has to find a way to fit into the lineup and make contributions. He has done that in the last few games.
Unfortunately, Trevor van Riemsdyk hit the goalpost trying to defend a play on Friday, and will be out for 5-6 weeks. With one less defenseman available, this will give Campbell even more of a chance to find his way.
Penalty kill is putrid
This was a complaint in the first week of the season, and it continues to be a struggle this week. The Chicago Blackhawks gave up two power play goals on Tuesday, two on Friday, and one on Saturday. I guess we could say that just one is improvement. And they are staying out of the box more. Against Philadelphia, they committed four penalties, but on Friday and Saturday they only committed two penalties in each game.
Nevertheless, the Chicago Blackhawks have allowed 12 shorthanded goals on 21 chances in six games. That’s unacceptable. Duncan Keith had this to say about the penalty kill, “It’s a few different things. We as players, we need to take ownership of it and figure out a way to get the job done.”
Coach Q added this, “We got a lot of time to repair it. Let’s look at the baby steps of getting through one tonight and go from there”.
Yes, baby steps. And a small sample size. We’re only six games in, after all. I’m sure the Chicago Blackhawks will go through a stretch where we rave about the penalty kill at some point in the season. Who knows, maybe the very next game the Hawks will be perfect on the PK.
Speaking of which, the Chicago Blackhawks take to the ice again Monday night against the Calgary Flames. That’s right, there’s no Cubs conflict for this one. So I expect you all to be watching and cheering on your Chicago Blackhawks!