Daily Herald
New stickwork leads to goals for Campbell
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 12/20/2009 11:00 PM

Maybe it's not a coincidence Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell has had some of his best games of the season since getting a new batch of sticks.

Campbell was unhappy with the way he was shooting the puck, which led him to the video room. In three games with his new sticks, Campbell has 2 goals, including 1 in Sunday's 3-0 victory over Detroit at the United Center.

"I did a motion capture with the stick, kind of like a golfer does, to see where the bend was, and it was bending too much," Campbell said.

In his first game with the new sticks Wednesday against St. Louis, Campbell scored a goal on a slap shot - his first in 28 games.

Then in Friday's win over Boston, it was Campbell's high slap shot from the right point that hit Andrew Ladd and found the back of the net.

"It's a little bit stronger in the hozzle of the stick just to enable me to get the shot up," Campbell said. "It's not bending as much in that area anymore. The shot feels like it's coming off quicker and harder.

"I'm able to shoot higher on a lot of my shots, which is a benefit a lot of times for a defenseman because, obviously, the goaltender is going down, and even guys going down to block shots are lying down so you have to get it over them. And when there's a screen in front you want to shoot for the higher areas."

Campbell had only 1 goal for the season before his 2 last week.

"I never considered myself a goal scorer," he said. "I know one year coming out of the lockout I had 12, but after that it's been in the 6, 7 or 8 range. There could be a few reasons; maybe I'm looking to pass and I need to shoot more."

Babcock's take: Nobody is counting the injury-riddled Red Wings out of the Central Division race as the NHL season nears its halfway point and they find themselves chasing the Hawks.

"They are a good team, a real good team," Babcock described the Hawks to the Detroit News. "Them, San Jose and maybe Nashville are probably the class of the West, skill-wise, right now. I think we will be competitive with them long term, for sure."

Babcock watched Marian Hossa play his first game against the Red Wings since leaving them as a free agent.

"Great player. I'd love to have him, but we couldn't afford to pay him," Babcock said. "Wait until next spring and see what (Chicago) has to do to keep their guys."

Down to wire: Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman met with his staff - Kevin Lowe, Doug Armstrong, Ken Holland - and coach Mike Babcock downtown Sunday morning to start formulating their Olympic roster.

Canada's brass watched Sunday night's game with their focus on Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp.

"As we get close to picking the final roster you get that one last look and kind of regroup and try to catch guys two or three more times just to be sure we're not missing anyone," Yzerman said.

Barker sits: Defenseman Cam Barker was a late scratch Sunday with a lower-body injury and is considered day to day.