Offensive-minded Campoli fitting in well with Hawks
Saturday, 03.26.2011 / 6:20 PM / News
By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent
CHICAGO – It's been 10 games since the Chicago Blackhawks acquired defenseman Chris Campoli from the Ottawa Senators on trade deadline day, and early reviews are all positive.
Campoli, a puck-moving defenseman who isn't shy about joining the play on the offensive end, has fit right into the Hawks' stable of similar-style blueliners – scoring a goal and adding a pair of assists since coming to Chicago.
His presence became even more valuable after a foot injury sidelined Brian Campbell for four of the past six games.
"The saying goes in our business you can never have enough D," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said following the team's morning skate Saturday. "Your depth will always get challenged and exposed at some point in the season and he came in at a vital time for us, in need of playing some minutes – and important minutes. It's nice knowing he's capable of doing a lot of things. Whether it's offensively or defensively, he complements what we're looking to do on the ice."
In other words, Campoli has been exactly what the Hawks thought they were getting.
"They wanted to go out and find a guy that could play some minutes, move the puck and fit into their style of play as a team, and I was lucky enough to be that guy," Campoli said "Right when I got here the guys welcomed me with open arms, and it seemed like there was chemistry there with the style of play and the way I try to play my game. So far, it's been a really good fit."
It doesn't hurt that Chicago, which faces the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, is battling for a playoff spot in the tight Western Conference standings. It's a completely opposite mind-set from his previous stop, where the Senators are jockeying for positioning in the 2011 Entry Draft while sitting in last place of the Eastern Conference.
"It's a great opportunity for me personally," said Campoli, whose combined season stats are 4 goals and 18 points with an even rating. "It's a great team and I think we've got a legitimate chance to win here. That's exciting.
"Right away, when I came here Joel was adamant about me playing my game and being aggressive. It's a puck-possession team. We're aggressive all the time. We like to play a puck possession style and put people on their heels."
Campoli started off being paired with Campbell to form an impressive puck-controlling duo. Now he's working with Niklas Hjalmarsson, which is also going well. Campoli's flexibility also plays well with Quenneville, who likes to mix things up before games and on the fly.
"I told him that I'll play wherever he wants to put me," Campoli said. "I'll play the left or right side, it doesn't matter to me. It's just exciting. I feel like I've got a legitimate chance to win."
He also played on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but only because his neighbor in the locker room – Patrick Sharp – is out with a knee injury. Sharp is the team's leading goal scorer and until he was hurt had formed one of the most potent line combinations in the League with Toews and Kane.
Stalberg, who has a tongue-in-cheek "rivalry" with Sharp about who is better looking, said he's not trying to one-up Sharp on the top line.
"I don't think anybody in their wildest dreams would imagine me replacing Sharpie," said Stalberg, who has 12 goals and 22 points in 68 games. "He's been our best player throughout the year and I'm not looking to do that by any means. I know when he gets back, that's where he's going to play. We've just got to find a way to get into the playoffs, and I'm going to do everything I can to help out."
Author: Brian Hedger | NHL.com Correspondent