chriscampoli

Another big turnover: Chris Campoli won’t be back with the Blackhawks next season

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Earlier today, Joe speculated that the Chicago Blackhawks’ small tweaks might be the end of Chris Campoli’s brief time with the team. His instincts appear spot-on because Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that he won’t play for Chicago during the 2011-12 season.

In case your memory of the yawn-inducing 2011 trade deadline is (understandably) fuzzy, the Blackhawks paid pretty big for their brief time with Campoli. They traded a conditional second round pick and Ryan Potulny to the Ottawa Senators for the offensive defenseman, leading some folks to call them one of the “losers” of the trade deadline.

Campoli scored seven points in 19 regular season games for Chicago and had one point in the team’s seven game series against the Vancouver Canucks. Those numbers are mediocre enough for a defenseman whose greatest strength is in generating offense (and skating), but his season-ending turnover to Alex Burrows in overtime of Game 7 of the two teams’ first round series probably stamped his ticket out of Chicago.

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Campoli is scheduled for an August 3 salary arbitration hearing, but Bowman revealed that the team will probably make like the Atlanta Thrashers did with Clarke MacArthur in 2010 by walking away from the discussions altogether.

“It was apparent from the beginning their salary demands were just not in concert with where we see him fitting in our team,” Bowman said at the opening of the Blackhawks’ fan convention on Friday. “We had to make a decision (that) it wasn’t going to happen. We made our best offer and it wasn’t to his liking. He sees himself in a different category, price-wise.”

The Blackhawks could trade his rights (or maybe do a sign-and-trade if they’re feeling especially fancy), but Bowman reiterated that Campoli’s time with Chicago is over.

Campoli can be traded between now and his arbitration hearing or else the Hawks will “walk away” from the award, making him an unrestricted free agent.

“We’re working that out, but he’s not going to be back with us,” Bowman said.

It wouldn’t be surprising if a team in need of a half-decent, 26-year-old offensive defenseman might be interested in Campoli, but the Blackhawks shouldn’t expect to get anything too fancy in return. Campoli’s tendency to turn the puck over might place him in a category with borderline NHLers such as Marc-Andre Bergeron (or worse).

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.