Blackhawks

Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli

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Blackhawks acquire defenseman Campoli

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted 1:05 p.m. Updated 7:34 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

St. Paul, Minn - Chris Campoli knew he could possibly be going elsewhere.

The 26-year-old defenseman was on an Ottawa Senators team that had big expectations at the start of the season but is now mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. Changes were coming there, and Campoli sensed he was going to be part of them.

READ: Blackhawks losers at deadline?

For the Chicago Blackhawks, the mobile, puck-moving defenseman was the right guy for their needs.

The Blackhawks acquired Campoli and a conditional seventh-round pick from the Senators in exchange for Ryan Potulny and a conditional second-round selection on Monday afternoon. For Campoli, who spent the past three seasons with the Senators, its a chance to play with a team on the edge of making the postseason.

Going forward for me, its an opportunity that I could get a fresh start and really take advantage of a new beginning with a franchise going in a great direction, he said. Theyve had success in the past, they have high expectations and it will be a challenge for me to contribute to that. Im looking forward to that opportunity.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was not sure when Campoli would join his new team, as there are visa issues that need to be completed.

Hopefully were getting that done in short order. In some ways its out of our hands. Were doing all we can to expedite things, Bowman said. Hes certainly ready to go, hes healthy. Once we get paperwork done hell be with the team.

Campoli has three goals and 11 assists for the Senators this season. He will be a restricted free agent next season and made 1.4 million this season. He played more than 18 minutes per game with Ottawa.

The good news for him is he can come here and hes not going to be required to carry the load, Bowman said. We have a lot of guys who can play good minutes, so he needs to compliment them.

Bowman added theyve been looking at Campoli for a while now.

We wanted to find a defenseman that fits the style of play that we play and he certainly fits that category, he said. Hes been in a situation where hes been put in even-strength or special-teams (situations), he can move the puck, he has good mobility and he compliments the group of defensemen we have. His style of play is similar to the way we want to play.

Campoli could also help the Blackhawks penalty kill. He played more than 98 minutes this season on the Senators kill and was also third on Ottawas team with 70 blocked shots. For Campoli, whatever the Blackhawks need hell try and give them.

Im capable of penalty killing, I had more of an opportunity (on it) this year in Ottawa than in the past, he said. Stan saw me as a defenseman who could contribute in all situations. I know he expects me to come in and help. Depending on the system in Chicago and way coaches want to do things, Ill adjust my game accordingly.

The Blackhawks desire to acquire a defenseman turned into more of a need after Sunday night, when Jordan Hendry suffered a torn ACL in his left knee against the Phoenix Coyotes. Hendry is out for the season and will have surgery on the injury, which will take six months for full recovery according to Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry.

Weve been focused on getting a defenseman, but that certainly didnt decrease our interest. If nothing else, increased it, Bowman said. Those things do happen and thats why you lay the groundwork ahead of time. Part of that research led us to be able to close the deal that we did.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Gustav Forsling showing improvement in his second season with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Gustav Forsling showing improvement in his second season with Blackhawks

On two consecutive Saturday evenings the Blackhawks were looking for a little more offense. On two consecutive Saturday evenings they got some from Gustav Forsling, whose shots got through to either tie a game (vs. Carolina) or take a lead (vs. Pittsburgh).

Forsling isn’t the big go-to guy when it comes to points but he’s nevertheless getting them for a Blackhawks team that’s starting to find its offense again. But this is more about Forsling’s overall game which, not long after he made the Blackhawks roster last fall, plateaued. This season he’s been more consistent and more confident from the start, and he and Jan Rutta have formed a pair that coach Joel Quenneville trusts and has kept together for most of this season. The 21-year-old defenseman talked of working on the mental side of his game entering this season and said he feels the difference.

“I’ve been working on it this summer and I feel a little bit better,” he said. “[Just] more confident with the puck and confident in myself and pretty much everywhere.”

Quenneville has seen the difference.

“I think he’s getting better with his reads,” Quenneville said. “He’s got a better gap. [Being] quicker all over the ice is part of that and nice to see him pound one that goes through because his shot can be a lot heavier than it’s been and we want him to use it a little bit more, too.”

Forsling says he feels comfortable playing with any of the Blackhawks’ defensemen but there’s no doubt he and Rutta have been good together. The two clicked immediately, and at times they’ve been the Blackhawks’ second pair.

“I think we’re thinking the same way out there on the ice. We have a great conversation out there and everything’s worked out fine,” Forsling said. “He’s a funny guy and we get along well.”

Forsling’s offensive contributions are welcomed but so is his defense. When the Rangers were looking for the game-tying goal late in the third period on Wednesday, Forsling was on Corey Crawford’s left side to prevent David Desharnais from scoring it. Seventy-six seconds later, Artem Anisimov’s goal gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead.

“Great play by him,” Crawford said. “For us, we want to cover the short side there and it’s great or him to get over quick and get his stick there. Definitely a great stop by him.”

Forsling’s playing with more confidence. He’s added a little early offense. The Blackhawks wanted Forsling to reach another level this season and so far, he’s doing that.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 win over Penguins: Power play becoming a strength?

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 win over Penguins: Power play becoming a strength?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night:
 
1. That's how you start a game.

The Blackhawks haven't had the best of starts over the last couple weeks or so — aside from their recent four-goal first period against New Jersey. But they flew out of the gates in Pittsburgh.

Chicago recorded 27 shot attempts (11 on goal) in the opening frame compared to Pittsburgh's 13 attempts (nine on goal), and led in the even-strength scoring chances department 11-2.

Two of those chances were breakaways from Nick Schmaltz and Jonathan Toews, but both were denied by Matt Murray. The Blackhawks cashed in on one of two power play opportunities, however, and took a 1-0 lead into the second.

2. Power play strikes again.

Speaking of power plays, the Blackhawks came up empty on their first one of the game, but they were handed another one 44 seconds later at the midway mark of the first and capitalized when Gustav Forsling slipped one five-hole past Murray. 

It's the third consecutive game the Blackhawks have scored on the man advantage, something they hadn't done since Oct. 7-12 when they scored in four straight. It's also the second consecutive game the power play unit netted the game winner.

The Blackhawks are 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) on the power play in their last three games after going 5-for-53 (9.4 percent) in their previous 12. 

3. Should Blackhawks have pushed back immediately following Corey Crawford injury?

A scary moment occurred in the second period when Evgeni Malkin swiped Crawford in the mask while racing for a loose puck, forcing the Blackhawks netminder to exit before returning a few minutes later.

Malkin was given a two-minute minor penalty for goaltender interference, but should the Blackhawks have stood up for Crawford at the expense of getting tagged with a penalty themselves?

No question a power play opportunity with a chance to make it a two-goal game at that stage of the game — and against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions who hadn't lost in regulation at home this season going into the matchup —  is important, but the Blackhawks' lack of retaliation was a bit surpising. 

It wasn't a dirty play by Malkin by any means, but there's a principle involved when your goaltender gets hit like that. Those are the kinds of penalties you shouldn't mind taking, and at the very worst it would've been 4-on-4 hockey with one of Pittsburgh's best forwards in the box.

4. Artem Anisimov stays hot.

The goals keep coming for No. 15.

After the Penguins tied it up at 1-1 in the third period with a shorthanded goal, Anisimov scored 21 seconds later on the power play to put the Blackhawks back in front 2-1.

Anisimov now has nine goals in his last 10 games after scoring just one goal in his first 10 to start the season. He also has four game-winning goals on the season, all of which have come this month. Brandon Saad leads the NHL with five.

5. Alex DeBrincat extends point streak.

Lost in the shuffle was the Blackhawks' top rookie getting on the scoresheet once again.

With an assist on Forsling's power play goal in the first period, DeBrincat extended his point streak to four games. He has four goals and two assists in that span, and is averaging a point per game over his last nine (six goals and three assists).

DeBrincat also moved into a three-way tie with Richard Panik and Toews for second on the team with 13 points.