Team USA will take the ice again in Buffalo at the 2011 World Junior Championships tonight against Slovakia. 7:00pm CST on NHL Network.
USA has only 2 points in the standings, as does Slovakia and both trail Switzerland who has 3 for a regulation win in their opener. Slovakia goaltender Riecicky turned aside 47 shots last night in defeating Germany, so if the U.S. wants to match that goaltending you'd think Dallas Stars draft pick Jack Campbell would be back between the pipes tonight but it's possible he'll get the night off and Andy Iles of Cornell will get the start.
Watching the game it was evident immediately that Campbell can handle the puck. Not surprising having heard him cite Marty Turco as an inspiration several times, but it's nice to see that part of his game and know that it will be improving along with everything else. Stars fans and players alike have already moved on from Marty Turco's aggressive style of wanting to handle the puck as much as possible as Kari Lehtonen does it sparingly, if at all, but there's value there if a goaltender has that in their bag of tricks.
HockeyJournal.com does not exactly have a glowing review of Campbell's 32 save performance...
Jack Campbell made 32 saves and had moments of why he was the top goaltender selected in last year’s NHL draft, but he also flashed some tendencies that have seen him struggle with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL after coming across the border to play major junior hockey in lieu of the NCAA. In the end, he got it done, but the U.S. team needs more efficient, even-keeled play from the enormously talented and internationally successful Campbell if it is going to keep its title dreams alive.
If 32 out of 34 is the bottom line, I think they'll take that going forward no matter what sorts of tendencies he displays.
NHL.com had a real nice piece on Campbell yesterday...
"Jack is always on time, he's always early, he's always leaving 20 minutes early for the bus," Bjugstad told NHL.com. "I don't usually go with him, but he's the nicest kid around and it's an honor to be able to room with him."
Campbell doesn't deny the fact he's a tad over the top, but he doesn't really care. It works.
"I'm really focused before games and sometimes that's not the best thing for some," Campbell said. "For myself, I just want to relax. Nick does a good job at being focused when the time comes, but at the same time, he's not stressing out about the game the whole day. We complement each other in that sense."
There's much more at NHL.com so check it out.
We'll chat USA and Stars/Preds tonight in the gameday thread so be sure you visit Defending Big D when the pucks drop in Nashville and Buffalo at 7:00pm CST.