– A lot of players just want to experience playoff hockey, but Chicago Blackhawks
defenseman Brian Campbell
misses playing regular-season games.
Campbell, who was out for the final month of the 2009-10 regular season with a broken clavicle, will now miss about a month of the regular season's start after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his knee. Campbell injured the knee early in the second period of Friday's 5-2 preseason win at home against Pittsburgh.
Campbell will be out about 4-5 weeks. It's possible he can resume skating after three weeks.
"It's pretty frustrating," Campbell said prior to Sunday's preseason finale against St. Louis at the United Center. "There wasn't a lot of contact there. He just hit me the wrong way. It's just frustrating. I'd like to play a regular-season game here at some point."
Unlike last season, when Campbell's clavicle was broken as the result of a hit from behind by Washington Capitals
star Alex Ovechkin
, this time the hit was more of a fluke. Campbell doesn't even know whose knee collided with his along the side boards near the blue line.
"I was just kind of up against the boards and kind of sealing the boards, and a guy came in," said Campbell, a key member of the Hawks' top four defense group. "He didn't really hit me hard or wasn't trying to hit me too much, but I saw his knee hit directly on mine and it hyper-extended backward. If his knee had been just a little bit to the left or right, it wouldn't have come close. It's just the way he hit me straight on. (My knee) went straight back and they don't want to move that way."
Though he can't skate, Campbell is already back working out and trying to stay in shape so there won't be too much conditioning to do when he returns. No surgery will be required to fix the MCL, which heals itself over time.
"(The doctor) thinks it looks really good and there's no other damage in it," Campbell said. "It should heal 100 percent and be ready to go. But it's going to be tough missing the start of the regular season. I'm pretty disappointed in that. We need to get off to a fast start. Hopefully I'll be back quick."
"(The doctor) thinks it looks really good and there's no other damage in it. It should heal 100 percent and be ready to go. But it's going to be tough missing the start of the regular season. I'm pretty disappointed in that." -- Brian Campbell
One concern he has is about wearing a knee brace when he returns, which is probably going to be required. Campbell is known for his skating ability, especially his speed.
"That's going to take some getting used to for awhile," he said. "I know a lot of other guys on the team are wearing braces and get used to them, but I know it kind of causes problems. So, I've got that in the back of my mind a little bit."
Taking Campbell's place on the roster will most likely be 19-year old rookie defenseman Nick Leddy
, who started Sunday's game alongside Niklas Hjalmarsson
. Asked about his impression of Leddy – also a good skater -- Campbell echoed the refrain of impressed Hawks coaches and front-office officials.
"He's been good," Campbell said. "He's been really solid so far. He's doing some great things at a young age. He seems pretty poised. He's definitely got an opportunity to be here."