Connect with us

Uncategorized

Maple Leafs’ Campbell treating L.A. return like a business trip amid Olympic bid

Published

on


LOS ANGELES – To understand what California means to Jack Campbell is to know what a second chance feels like.

A celebrated 11th-overall draft pick by the Dallas Stars in 2010, the kid from Port Huron, Michigan, came adorned with a world junior gold medal and all that weighty pressure and expectation of developing into a franchise No. 1.

Six years in Texas yielded all of one big-league start — a 6-3 shellacking in 2013 at mighty Anaheim — by the blue-chip prospect, and Campbell ended up spending more time with ECHL Idaho than in the Show.

Advertisement
Stream the Leafs this season with new pricing options! SN NOW STANDARD and PREMIUM let you choose how much hockey you want to watch.

An injured hand led to a delayed promotion led to a snowball of self-doubt and drained motivation.

It’s possible Campbell was in danger of giving up on himself.

It was certain the Stars had given up on him.

Campbell was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in June 2016 for Nick Ebert, a careerlong minor-leaguer.

Advertisement

Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford made rebuilding Campbell’s mental and technical game top priority, and champion starter Jonathan Quick became his mentor. The organization exercised patience and instilled belief in a lost soul.

This city of sun-dappled palm trees and two-hour traffic jams is where the young flock to chase dreams. It’s where Campbell resuscitated his.

[radioclip id=5243806]

And so it was, on Feb. 27, 2018 — more than four years and four zillion negative thoughts removed his disastrous debut — a 26-year-old Campbell pulled on a silver and black sweater and tried to steady his mind ahead of his second NHL start.

“It was my only shot to really prove I’m ready,” Campbell recalls. “It was my first start since I was like 20, 21 years old. And Dion [Phaneuf] came up and gave me a pep talk. I’ll never forget that. I’ll keep the words between us, but I really appreciated that.”

Advertisement

Campbell turned away 41 of 42 shots, defeating the upstart Golden Knights that night in Vegas, securing the first of 50 wins and propelling his dream forward.

So, you understand that even when L.A.’s brass opted to bet on fellow emerging goaltender Cal Petersen and trade Campbell to Toronto in 2020, the goalie has only positive things to say about his transitional team.

You understand why Campbell will pounce at any chance to praise Ranford and Quick. Why he and fellow ex-King Jake Muzzin could be spotted laughing and chatting with Anze Kopitar and other L.A. players — nay, friends — following the Leafs’ home loss to the Kings earlier this month.

And why Campbell was a bundle of nerves facing off against Quick that first time.

“That guy means the world to me,” Campbell says. “I used to watch video of him in Dallas, just studying his game, and I went to Connecticut one summer to train just because he was out there. That was before I ever met him.

Advertisement

“He’s a warrior, and I learned so much from him.”

Can love and competitiveness can coexist?

Campbell is painting his week in Cali as “a business trip,” as one of the busiest goalies in the biz seeks to build on his league leads in appearances (16), GAA (1.66) and save percentage (.944).

“It’s natural to be pretty excited to play the old team,” Campbell told reporters Tuesday. “I kind of got that out last game, and unfortunately lost the game, but will be ready to go.”

Campbell has been joined on the roadie by Kyle Clifford, who said the most prophetic thing about his goalie pal right after the two were dealt to Toronto from L.A. in 2020: “He’s nothing of ‘just a backup.’ There’s a lot of potential there.”

Advertisement

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-768977” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).data(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = {preroll:{1:{1:{siteID:191888},2:{siteID:191889}}}};
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6282775235001&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else {
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6282775235001&cmsid=384”;
}
*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6282775235001&cmsid=384”;

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=”” + (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js” %3E%3C/script%3E”) );

$( document ).one( ‘ready’, function() {
$( “#video_container-768977” ).SNPlayer( {
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “rkedLxwfab”,
//autoplay: false,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6282775235001,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
section: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/6282775235001-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/video/hes-just-stopping-everything-maple-leafs-letting-campbell-thing/”
});
});

Campbell’s underlying numbers are even more spectacular than his boxcar ones. He leads all netminders in goals saved above average (13.9), adjusted goals-against average (1.79) and goalie point shares (4.0) — a fancy way of saying Campbell alone is responsible for four of the Leafs’ 27 standings points.

Advertisement

To the observer, he’s quieter in his crease, surrenders fewer rebounds, and is kinder to himself during post-loss press conferences.

Leafs Nation is witnessing potential realized — and honouring it with deep-throated “Soooooup!” chants with every 10-bell save Campbell makes at home.

And with Beijing looming in three months, Team USA is realizing it, too.

“Well, he’s had a very good start. You know, there’s been a number of conversations around the roster,” U.S. head coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday.

“There are some dates that are fast approaching where we’ve got to get to certain numbers, and we’re going through that process behind the scenes, but we’re well aware that Jack’s had a really strong start.”

Advertisement

The last time NHLers participated in the Winter Games, in 2014, Quick was between the pipes for the U.S.

Flattered as he is to find himself in the best-on-best conversation, Campbell doesn’t want to get caught dreaming in California.

“I’m just trying to focus on getting wins and focus on being the best I can for Toronto here,” Campbell said. “Anytime you represent the country, it’s such a privilege and it’s such an honour. So, we’ll see.”

One-Timers: Joseph Woll, who pitched a shutout Sunday on Long Island, is being considered as a starting option Friday in San Jose or Sunday in Anaheim, which would give Campbell some needed rest. “Even before Joe played his game the other night, we had talked about the fact it would be nice to get a non-back-to-back game out of our backup goaltender, so we’ll continue to look at that,” Sheldon Keefe said. “Obviously, Joe’s performance the other night didn’t hurt that cause.”… Kings coach Todd McLellan says there is “a real good chance” recalled defenceman Sean Durzi makes his NHL debut Wednesday against the club that drafted him. Toronto dealt Durzi to L.A. in 2019 as part of the Muzzin deal. Now the right shot leads all AHL D-men in goals (five) and rates second in points (16). He’s coming in hot, putting gup seven points in his past two games with the Ontario Reign.

Advertisement





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 × 1 =

Uncategorized

'The Clash can still be a good exhibition' – Bob Pockrass discusses a caution-filled Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum

Published

on




On “Fast thoughts with Bob Pockrass”, Pockrass discusses the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum.



Source link

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Joey Logano takes blame for getting into Kyle Busch at Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum | NASCAR on FOX

Published

on




Joey Logano took blame for getting into Kyle Busch at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. He was glad that Busch was able to make another run at the front.



Source link

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

'It's hard to point fingers' – Denny Hamlin on collisions at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum | NASCAR on FOX

Published

on




Denny Hamlin spoke about the collisions that took place at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum and said it’s hard to point fingers.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending