Blackhawks

Campoli looking for first goal as a Blackhawk

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Campoli looking for first goal as a Blackhawk

Wednesday, March 16, 2011Posted: 4:58 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Chris Campoli is a pretty happy man right now.

The newest Chicago Blackhawks defenseman is liking his new surroundings or at least what little hes seen of his new city and is especially loving being part of a puck-possession team that fits his style.

If he could just get that elusive goal.

I could probably have three or four goals already but I cant finish it off, joked Campoli, who clanged one off the crossbar but soon after got an assist on Viktor Stalbergs goal against San Jose on Monday. But guys find you.

And right now, Campoli is finding himself in a great spot. Traded from a struggling Ottawa Senators team at the deadline, the 26-year-old Campoli is part of a contender and fitting in with his teammates and his on-ice role.

This system suits my style of game more, for sure, he said. In Ottawa they tell you to go, but its tough to go sometimes when youre chasing the puck. This teams a puck-possession team and we want to play with the puck. The guys Im playing with on defense fit more of my mold than maybe some of the guys up in Ottawa.

Defenseman Duncan Keith said Campolis fit in well in his first seven games.

Hes come in and his skill level, smarts and reading of plays compliments our team game, he said. Hes enjoying being here and being on a team that likes to hold onto the puck and make plays.

Campoli played his first few games with Brian Campbell. The two have similar games and complimented each other well. But even in the absence of Campbell, whos currently sidelined with a leg injury, Campoli has improvised and found his niche regardless of partner. He played nearly 22 minutes against San Jose on Monday night, and that included some power play and penalty kill time.

He really gives us a defenseman that can play minutes, can play both sides, can add some offense to our defense core and is reliable defensively, coach Joel Quenneville said. He reads and sees situations, defends well and wants to go get pucks in corners. I
just think as he becomes more accustomed to his surroundings hes going to add that to his game. Were very happy with what he has done and what he can do.

Campoli is also appreciating a more positive environment. Times were tough in Ottawa, where the veteran-heavy Senators were expected to be contenders in the Eastern Conference. They struggled from the start, however, and went through the obvious changes at deadline.

I just think it became a really negative environment, he said. Anytime a veteran group doesnt do well there are going to be changes. Maybe uncertainty made it such a negative atmosphere and just the struggles in general of not winning. I guess Im fortunate to move onto a great situation for me. What better chance? This teams got a great chance to win.

Keith, who was with the Blackhawks before recent success, understands that.

Ive been on teams with losing seasons and its a long year, he said. Getting traded to a team thats in the thick of things can make you definitely feel better about coming to the rink every day.

Campolis enjoying hockey life a lot more right now. Hes in a good situation, getting a great opportunity. Hes latched on to a Blackhawks team in the thick of the playoff hunt and its made for a better outlook.

Theres optimism here. Its contagious, it really is, he said. Im being given more of a chance here so far than I ever was in Ottawa. Joel showing confidence in me is helping me go out there and just play my game. When youre playing on such a good team with guys like this, they make you look a lot better.

Injury updates

Brian Campbell (left leg) will miss the Blackhawks game in Dallas on Thursday but he could meet the team in Glendale for their game against the Coyotes on Sunday. Campbell, who did not practice on Wednesday, suffered his injury against the Florida Panthers last week. He played in the first half of the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime loss to Washington, sitting on the bench for the remainder of the game.
Dave Bolland, meanwhile, is out for the next two games and wont even make the trip to DallasPhoenix. Still sidelined with a concussion, Bollands status hasnt really improved much, if at all, since Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina elbowed him in the head last week.

You want Bolly to take his time and make sure hes 100 percent when he does come back, captain Jonathan Toews said. Who knows when that will be? I have no idea what the timeline is for him, but theres no denying hes a big piece of the puzzle here on our squad, especially as a centerman and what he does on the power play and penalty kill.

Ouch

Patrick Sharp took a Duncan Keith shot to the ankle during Wednesdays practice. The forward shook it off and told reporters that Keiths shot wasnt that hard.

Keith said thats good. I think I took a little off for him because I saw him there. I just wanted to give him a little taste of it to let him know not to be in the way like that.

Briefly

Corey Crawford gets the start against the Stars on Thursday night.

Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson didnt practice on Wednesday but hes expected to play in Dallas.

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

What adjustments Blackhawks could make against Oilers for Game 3

What adjustments Blackhawks could make against Oilers for Game 3

The Blackhawks set the tone in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers by dominating at even strength and potting three power-play goals against the second-ranked penalty kill.

The Edmonton Oilers flipped the script and made the correct adjustments in Game 2, scoring 19 seconds into the game and never giving up control of it.

It's the Blackhawks' turn to counter in Game 3.

As the home team for Games 3 and 4, head coach Jeremy Colliton and his staff will have the luxury of last line change. That means the Blackhawks can decide which trio goes up against Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, who netted a hat trick on Monday.

But before getting into lineup adjustments, the first emphasis for the Blackhawks should be scoring the first goal. Well, it always should be.

"I'm pretty sure it's important to score the first goal no matter what, who you're playing," Duncan Keith said after practice on Tuesday. "That would help to try and win the game." 

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In Game 1, the Blackhawks fell behind 1-0 just 2:34 into the opening frame. In Game 2, they trailed 2-0 in the first 4:05. 

Only two teams had more wins during the regular season when scoring first than the Oilers (29). On the contrary, the Oilers had the sixth-worst points percentage (.250) when giving up the first goal. 

Scoring first is always crucial, but it feels even more significant against a high-powered offense like the Oilers.

"It’s two games in a row where we have to come from behind," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It’s not a position we want to be in. I think we had a good start in Game 1, they score on the power play. Big difference from our start in Game 2.

"From our perspective we want to do the right things right from the puck drop. Sometimes a bounce goes for or against you but more so it’s how we perform shift to shift that gives us a chance to win the game. Hopefully results in the first goal, but if it doesn’t, we have a high level of play we’ve got to believe we’ll come back."

The Blackhawks were without Drake Caggiula in Game 2 after an illegal check to the head on Oilers forward Tyler Ennis in Game 1 resulted in a one-game suspension. John Quenneville took his spot in the lineup, but the Blackhawks were ultimately forced to double-shift Patrick Kane throughout the course of the game after falling behind quickly, which disrupted the line flow.

The Blackhawks will likely go back to their Game 1 rotation, and they should, even though things clicked immediately when Kane was put on a line with Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat. But it will be interesting to see how Colliton matches his group against the Oilers.

In Game 1, Dave Tippett and his staff tried exploiting the Blackhawks' fourth line of Ryan Carpenter, David Kampf and Matthew Highmore by making them defend McDavid, who was a non-factor at even strength. Leon Draisaitl's line, mainly, went up against the Blackhawks' third line of Caggiula, Dach and DeBrincat.

Will the Blackhawks try freeing up Kane and Jonathan Toews offensively by using the same tactic or does it make more sense to match the first two lines against Edmonton’s top guns as much as possible? There's a case to be made for both sides.

Exactly one week before the NHL put its season on pause, the Blackhawks played the Oilers at the United Center and beat them 4-3. Toews' line drew the McDavid matchup and Kane's line went up against Draisaitl, so perhaps we could see that again, at least to start.

It’s a game of chess, and the Blackhawks must use having the last move to their advantage.

When Mario Lemieux and Michael J. Fox owned part of Russian hockey team

When Mario Lemieux and Michael J. Fox owned part of Russian hockey team

In the early 90s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, a group of investors including two owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mario Lemieux and Michael J. Fox took ownership of 50 percent of the then struggling Russian national hockey team.

"You can't really call it owning because it's the Russian government, but we basically stepped in and took over the financial interests of the central Red Army hockey team in Moscow, in Russia," Fox said on CNN's "Larry King Live" during a clip shown in director Gabe Polsky's new documentary, "Red Penguins".

"Red Penguins" is a more-than-worthy follow up to Polsky's well-received "Red Army" released in 2014.

His latest doc zeroes in on what happens when Pittsburgh Penguins owners Howard Baldwin and Tom Ruta, along with their other investors, try to save the once proud hockey club that had a previous relationship with the Soviet armed forces and name it the Russian Penguins.

"At the beginning, we didn't understand the risk. We didn't understand what the country was like and what have you," Ruta says early in the film. As the movie plays out, that statement becomes more and more true.

Marketing wiz Steven Warshaw, hired by Baldwin and Ruta and sent to Moscow, achieves success in coming up with promotions such as free beer nights to fill the Russian Penguins' arena. The success from the Americans' involvement in the team also attracted Disney's interest according to Warshaw.

Things go south when the Russian mafia gets involved. Not even Warshaw's comic relief in the film softens the destruction and violence done by the criminal organization as the partnership falls apart.

"Red Penguins" is available Tuesday on iTunes, Amazon, On Demand and all other video platforms.

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