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After lost weekend, Campbell, Hawks only looking ahead
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Brian Campbell

 

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Published: 3/11/2009 12:01 AM

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The Blackhawks are coming off an awful weekend, and nobody had a tougher time than defenseman Brian Campbell, who was a combined minus-6 in losses to Boston and Colorado.

"A weekend to forget for all of us," Campbell said Tuesday.

With Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Avalanche and the boos from the United Center crowd still in their memory, the Hawks were put through a tough practice by coach Joel Quenneville on Tuesday with plenty of hitting and 1-on-1 battle work.

"It obviously was very embarrassing, Sunday's game at home here, but we talked after the game and we need to pick this up a little bit," Campbell said.

"Sometimes you go into a lull, and it's not going to be like that in the playoffs. We need to ramp it up here, and I think today's practice was an indication of that, how the coaches put us through the grinder.

"I don't think there's panic in the room. It's something that is fixable and curable and we don't want to let it happen again, especially here at home."

The Hawks host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight looking to make it up to the fans for what happened Sunday.

"We know we owe the fans something, and we owe it to ourselves and the guy sitting next to you in the room," Campbell said. "I don't think we were aggressive enough and played with enough pizzazz all weekend."

Campbell hasn't played well during the Hawks' 2-4-1 slide. He has 5 assists in those seven games but is minus-6.

"Everybody has days where sometimes the pucks are going in when you're on the ice, or there's a tough play," Quenneville said. "I think that he can be better. I just think going forward we have to re-establish he's had some real good stretches when he's confident and skating and defending and doing all the things that make him a top player.

"So I think recapturing that confidence on the ice is what we're looking for."

Campbell maintains he is on the same page with Quenneville, dismissing a recent claim by analyst Al Strachan during a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast that he wasn't getting along with his coach.

Campbell said the report wasn't true, and he made it a point to seek out Quenneville and talk about it two days after it aired.

As for his minus-6 weekend, Campbell said: "You move on from that. It happens, if you like that stat or not."

Campbell still is a plus-3 for the season with 44 points, which had him tied for seventh among NHL defensemen heading into Tuesday's games. Quenneville's message at practice Tuesday wasn't meant solely for Campbell.

"We didn't like our last game or our last effort," Quenneville said. "Sometimes you have that kind of practice, whether you get their attention or not. I think it's necessary we have some intensity in our practices because that's how we want to play."

The most interesting drill came when Quenneville turned the net facing the corner and had players battle 1-on-1 at first, then 2-on-2. And it got physical.

"It's fun to go out there and bash your teammate and trash talk after if you beat him," Campbell said. "We have to pick up our aggression a little bit in the games. I think we're too lackadaisical out there and it better turn a light on in a lot of guys' heads here."

Blackhawks vs. Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center, 7:30 p.m.

TV: Comcast SportsNet

Radio: WGN 720-AM

At a glance: The Hurricanes, in a mad scramble to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, have scored 23 goals during a four-game winning streak. This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams and marks Tuomo Ruutu's first game against the Hawks since he was traded in February 2008. Ruutu has 20 goals and 25 assists.

Next: Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday