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).
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.