Who replaces Brian Campbell in the Blackhawks lineup?

GYI0061593399-leddy-clausandersen-getty.jpgThe road to repeat for the Chicago Blackhawks was already set to be a difficult one given all the roster turnover during the off-season. Now the team will be dealing with the loss of key defenseman Brian Campbell for the next four to five weeks with a knee sprain will make at least the start of the season that much more difficult. The question for Chicago now becomes: Who will take over for Campbell while he’s out. Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago digs in to figure things out.

In either a criticism of the Hawks’ depth (after their top four) at that position, or a nod to his talents, 19-year-old Nick Leddy might be the best candidate for the job. He’s a puck-moving guy that should feel comfortable with the steady Niklas Hjalmarsson, or if coach Joel Quenneville elects, Brent Seabrook or Duncan Keith.

It was always in Leddy’s best interests to play with a top-four guy, or go to the minors and get the full-scale learning experience. Now, there’s less of a choice in that decision. Nothing says he’ll finish the game the way he starts it but the opportunity is there for his taking.

Leddy was obtained from the Minnesota Wild last year in the Cam Barker trade. Just last season, Leddy was starting on defense for the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA. Now he’s poised to start the year with the Chicago Blackhawks who will be looking to defend the Stanley Cup. Not a bad upgrade in life, that’s for sure.

The Blackhawks will just have to hope that the 19 year-old Leddy is ready for the spotlight, otherwise it’ll be Jordan Hendry’s time to shine in Chicago. Hendry played through most of the playoffs for Chicago last year but did lose his starting job to Nick Boynton during the Stanley Cup finals. With the lack of depth in the Blackhawks system, veteran Jassen Cullimore also figures to start the season with the Blackhawks in a support role.

It’s not an ideal starting point for the team, but the Blackhawks knew they might have to deal with these issues this season given what they had to do to get under the cap. How this affects their run for another Stanley Cup will make for captivating theater in Chicago.

(Photo: Claus Andersen – Getty Images)

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?