Campbell injury will test Hawks' depth

Sunday afternoon, Brian Campbell was boarded by Alex Ovechkin, and suffered a broken collarbone and rib.  He will miss at least the remainder of the regular season, and likely a chunk of the playoffs. 

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Brian Campbell lays on the ice after getting crushed by Alex Ovechkin

While many have ripped Campbell for his huge contract, and sometimes questionable defensive play, suddenly, the Hawks don't look as strong. 

Campbell is one of the top puck moving defensemen in the NHL.  His combination of speed and instincts make him a threat to score or create a chance every time he's on the ice. 

His partner, Nik Hjalmarsson, has gotten a lot of credit this season, and rightfully so.  To this point, he's been outstanding defensively, but when Campbell left the game yesterday, he didn't look as strong as he usually does.  Granted, he was double shifted, but he didn't look the same. 

If that's not cause for concern enough, keep in mind how poorly the Hawks D has been since the Olympic break.  The issues were masked by bad goaltending, but the errors were there.  Even Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have made mistakes, and when those two are failing, you have a huge problem.

Now a defense that looked strong top to bottom has suddenly become thin.  Nick Boynton will likely be Campbell's replacement.  He will have to clear waivers to re-enter the NHL, but it's expected he will.  There is a rule in the NHL regarding emergency call-ups, but it's unclear whether or not the Hawks qualify.  If they do, he can be called up without clearing waivers.

This West Coast road trip will show a lot about this Hawk team.  It's really the first time they've met any sort of rut all season.  How will they respond?  Reports from the Hawks locker room weren't good.  The Hawks reportedly looked defeated and at a loss for words.  Let's hope they find their confidence again before it's too late.     

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  • I hope Soupy is back by April-May!!! He is a joy to watch in the transition game!

  • Terrible that Campbell got such a bad-luck injury, but maybe an actual DEFENSEman can step up now. You have it exactly wrong, Jay - it's the atrocious defense that's been masked by misguided, hand-wringing hysteria over goaltending. When you commit to the offensive zone in order to play puck possession as much as Quenneville does, you risk hanging your 'tender out to dry. Your defense has to be perfect, or you get ugly giveaways as per the last few games. Yes, the Blackhawks allow the lowest number of shots in the league, but they also allow a huge percentage of high-quality scoring chances. That is a recipe for an early playoff exit, as shown by Q's track record.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    I don't see a great number of high-quality scoring chances against the Hawks. Regardless, they aren't changing their style of play anymore than the 80's Oilers would in order to better protect Fuhr/Moog.

    Living in St. Louis, I didn't see Q's Blues give up many quality chances either. And he has taken two teams to the Conference Finals and overachieved with the Avs.

  • In reply to borg:

    Q has either missed the playoffs, been ousted by round 2, or been fired in 10 out of his 12 seasons as a head coach. The 80's Oilers averaged over 350 goals for per season. The Blackhawks have scored 225 with just 14 games to go. They can't afford shoddy defense.

  • In reply to borg:

    IF the dog didn't stop to crap, we wudda caught the rabbit!!! lol Where do all you POOet Apologists come from anyhow? I guess POOet must have an over-extended family!!!! lol Anyone who beLIEves POOet has the "flu" is drinking way too much of the kool aid! He has had 2 years to show what he has,and has FAILED. NOW....... the WRITING is on the wall! Maybe Coach Q has finally sobered up!!! lol

  • In reply to nickatnoon:

    Well now, THERE'S a well-reasoned and insightful comment.

  • @ThatGoy, lol I can see what you mean by DEFENSEman! That is a major weakness on our blueline .TOUGHNESS/PHYSICALITY! Having said that Huet is the WEAKEST link in the Hawks line of defense. He has shown for almost 2 full seasons he is NOT a reliable starting goalie. He will kill the Hawks in the P/Os if he is ALLOWED to. Having watched EVERY game the last 2 seasons, this is easy to see.If Niemi doesn't get 75-80 of the work, the coaching needs to be examined closer.Look at each goalie's WINNING PCT., and SAVE PCT.

  • In reply to nickatnoon:

    Winning percentage and save percentage are essentially team stats. If the D keeps the enemy out of the House, they don't get quality shots. Fewer quality shots = higher save percentage = fewer goals = more wins. Sure, I would rather have Luongo or Miller between the pipes, but Huet and Niemi are both more than adequate goalies for a sound defensive team.

  • In reply to ThatGuy:

    OK, You obviously don't watch the games but listen to the media and coaches who are all PC. Huey sux, and always has. He hasn't WON anything in his PRO CAREER

  • In reply to nickatnoon:

    I have watched and broken down almost every goal scored on Huet this year. Amateur psychoanalysis aside, Huet is fundamentally sound most of the time, but has a tendency to get off his angles when he has to move laterally too much. That isn't a fatal flaw. Luongo does the same thing to a lesser degree, but compensates with his quickness and vision. Huet has the skills for supporting a Cup run IF he gets hot and confident at the right time. He has played that way for good stretches in his career, and there's no reason to believe that he can't do it again. What he CAN'T do is put the team on his back and carry them to the championship.

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