Campbell having fun with Versteeg, Tallon in Florida


Campbell having fun with Versteeg, Tallon in Florida

Its been a whirlwind year for Brian Campbell.

The former Blackhawks defenseman became a former Blackhawk around this time in 2011, when he was traded to the Florida Panthers. Since then Campbell set career-best numbers in assists (49) and points (53) and helped the Panthers get to their first postseason since the 1999-2000 season.

Oh, and things have gone well off the ice, too. Campbell got married three weeks ago and still calls Chicago his summer home.

Its been busy but its been a good summer, said Campbell, who was playing in Denis Savards charity golf event on Monday. Its always nice to get back, enjoy the summer here.

And Campbell enjoyed his first season with the Panthers. Reunited with former Blackhawks general manager Dale Tallon, Campbell was part of Floridas hockey rejuvenation that almost got them to the second round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

We havent made the playoffs in so long, so it was tough before that to be a proud Panther fan. But its coming now, Campbell said. Its something to be proud of. Hockey is fun there. Dales made it a great place to play and you enjoy coming to the rink every day.

The Panthers have something off which to build this season, and theyre keeping their group together. Kris Versteeg, another former Blackhawk, signed a four-year deal with them Monday morning, avoiding arbitration. The Panthers have gotten a taste of the postseason again, and want to repeat it a few more times.

Obviously our goal is to make the playoffs and go from there. But we may not surprise as many teams coming into this year, Campbell said. But its exciting. Its nice to play down in South Florida and enjoy all the aspects that come with the environment down there.

Now there just has to be hockey this season. Campbell remembers the lockout all too well. And count him among the many who dont want to see it repeated.

You never want to (lose playing time), he said. For a lot of us players, weve already lost one year. It took a while to build things back up. But the good thing is, (the two sides) are communicating and staying positive. Its probably going to come down to a deadline. Hopefully we can meet that deadline.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.