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.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”