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.
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.