The Hawks defense is about to get a lot better. After suffering a knee sprain in the preseason, defenseman Brian Campbell is poised to play his first game of the season tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Last season, Campbell was one of the most maligned athletes in Chicago. His penchant for poorly timed turnovers and defensive lapses made him a villain, especially when his long, expensive contract was considered. Then Alex Ovechkin boarded him, and the Hawks were forced to play the last 14 regular season games without him.
It was in his absence that his true value was felt. The Hawks' offensive attack is based on the breakout pass, and no one does it better than Brian Campbell.
This season, the Hawks have been missing him as much as ever. Clearing the zone has been a huge issue for the Hawks all season. Campbell will fix that.
The Hawks defensive depth has been challenged. Campbell's return moves everyone down a peg. His partner, Nik Hjalmarsson, has struggled as much as anyone. He can now play his game, and not worry about bailing out his partner, like he had been. I doubt there is anyone happier in Chicago than Hjammer today.