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I Can See Clearly Now: What Brian Campbell’s Injury Means

March 16, 2010

Both Ovechkin and the Blackhawks released statements regarding the hit, the injury, and the suspension today.  James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail wrote a really good piece on it.  I won’t get into what Ovechkin said because the incident is in the past now.  I’m more concerned with how this affects the Blackhawks going forward.

From the Chicago Blackhawks:

Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry: “Brian Campbell suffered a clavicle fracture and a rib fracture on Sunday. He will likely avoid surgery and we anticipate a full recovery. He should be ready to play in approximately seven to eight weeks.”

But what does it all mean, Basil?  Well, if seven weeks is best possible scenario, that puts his return at May 4th at the earliest.  To understand when that is, let’s take a look at last season compared to this year:

Last game of season
April 12 April 11
1st Round of Playoffs Begins
April 16 ?
2nd Round of Playoffs Begins
April 30 ?
May 4th
Day after game 2 of 2nd Round. ?

So allowing for differences in the calendar, playoff schedule, and rehab schedule, we could expect Campbell to return in the early 2nd round AT THE EARLIEST.  That doesn’t mean we’ll for sure have him back by then (or that the Hawks will even make it that far.)

Let’s look at what we’re left with.  7 defensemen are currently on the roster (Boynton cleared waivers today).  We could probably pencil in Byfuglien as the 8th guy in case of freak injuries devastating the blue line.  Someone will have to step up to fill the 23 minutes per game that Campbell got.  We’ll likely see pairings of Keith-Seabrook, Hjalmarsson-Johnsson, Sopel-Hendry.  Its amazing how much impact one guy going down can have.  The 2nd pairing loses some speed, which will really hurt when it comes to trapping teams.  The 3rd pairing loses the stability and offense from Johnsson.  Boynton could also be plugged into the 3rd for Sopel and you really wouldn’t lose much. I’m not sure how much time he gets on the PK, but he better be willing to sacrifice the body like Sopel does.

Its scary, but we still have 2 very good pairings and one that has been serviceable all season.  The Hawks are going to need some strong backchecking from the forwards and dependable play from the bottom pairings.  If issues arise early, don’t be surprised to see Keith and Seabs to get split up.  A Keith-Hammer, Seabs-Johnsson set does make some sense.  You never know when it comes to Coach Q.

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