Texas Stars Mailbag: Looking at Jack Campbell’s first game and AHL suspensions

Welcome to another edition of the Texas Stars Mailbag, which now features a more visual element.

Thanks to @chillyw’s suggestion on Twitter, we’re adding a weekly film study. This week we’ll look at the three goals Jack Campbell allowed in his season debut on Wednesday.

Goal 1: Joey Hishon, 4:20 of the first period.

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This goal happens because Campbell is already set in a butterfly before the shot comes. He’s playing the percentages and taking away the bottom of the net in case Andrew Agozzino fires this shot from the grouping by the face-off dot.

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Here Agozzino fires the shot and Campbell has already set his weight on his left pad. His foot isn’t on the ice and he doesn’t have the ability to push across in case of a deflection.

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The deflection happens and Campbell has to scramble to his right, but Hishon has ample time to put the puck in the net.

Goal 2: Andrew Agozzino, 0:24 third period.

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This goal starts when Agozzino is able to sneak down the left side uncovered. The puck carrier Maxim Noreau is blatantly looking to pass, which should send a message to Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell to take away the cross-ice pass.

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The defensemen fail to take away the pass here. That’s a combination of being slightly out of position and Johns simply missing the puck when he reached to poke away the pass.

This goal isn’t Campbell’s fault, but he is already in a butterfly and is reacting like Noreau was going to shoot. That puts him in a bad position when the pass reaches Agozzino.

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Since Campbell was already down, he wasn’t able to effectively push across. It would have been a difficult save either way, but had he stayed up during the pass he could have slid across and made the save.

Goal 3: Nikita Zadarov, 4:22 third period

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Campbell is doing the right thing in this situation. You can see him looking around the screen on the top of the crease and has to find his vision through a maize of bodies, it doesn’t help that a pair of his defenders go for the shot block and miss.

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Well-placed slap shot by Zadarov through traffic, Campbell doesn’t have much of a chance here. Correct thought by players laying out to block the shot, but when you miss on the shot block, it can screen the goalie.

Overall, Campbell will likely want the first goal back and could have made a better play on the second even though it wasn’t his fault.

It was a good start for Campell in the 6-3 victory. It will be interesting to see how he improves this Saturday against the Stockton Heat.

Now, let’s dive into the mailbag:

As someone who makes his living writing, I hate it. I suck at math and every game now requires a calculator to figure out the impact on the standings.

This is what I have figured out though: in order for Texas and San Antonio to take advantage of the extra game, they’ll have to pick up at least 12 of 16 potential points. That roughly equates to a 6-2 record, or some other combination of overtime losses and victories.

As league, the AHL really needs to examine this going forward. If five teams are allowed to play by different standings rules, what’s stopping other teams from asking for other rule exceptions?

Update: 8:29 p.m., Nov. 12, 2015

Certain infractions — notably those for checking to the head and all match penalties — are automatically reviewed by the league.

Teams have 24 hours to submit a request for supplemental discipline. If an incident occurs on a Saturday night, we may not necessarily be informed of a request until Sunday evening. Factor in the time it takes to collect all available video (including angles that may be independent of the AHL Live feed) and then conduct the actual review, and the whole process usually takes a couple of days to complete.

This can lead to somewhat awkward situations. For example, Patrick Bordeleau played this past Sunday against the Chicago Wolves after his boarding incident took place on Saturday.

The tape wasn’t reviewed until Monday and the suspension wasn’t passed down until Tuesday.

Obviously this Tweet came in before the suspension was passed down. And we just talked about the suspension process.

But, let’s break down the merit of the three-game suspension Bordeleau received.

Personally, I would have given him four games, but I’m content with the three-game hiatus.

One week earlier the Milwaukee Admiral’s Vladislav Kamenev was suspended two games for boarding. Using that as a baseline, Bordeleau should have gotten at least two games for the hit on Mattias Backman — which caused a concussion.

The additional game was added for the second hit against Jason Dickinson, which came 16 seconds after his first infraction and during the delayed penalty. I would have given an additional two games for that hit — which was more of an elbow combined with a charge.

Curtis McKenzie will be back in Cedar Park before Radek Faksa. And once McKenzie is healthy I expect him to be immediately assigned back to Texas.

Faksa, on the other hand, has played very well and could force the Stars brass to get creative and keep him on the roster when other injured forwards Travis Moen and Patrick Eaves return.

Jack Campbell is currently on a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars and has to prove he belongs with the organization.

Personally, I’d like to see Campbell succeed — he’s a genuinely good person and real pleasant to interact with.

But, can he prove he’s the future for the Dallas Stars? This season is going to determine that. If Campbell can stay calm, poised and healthy, he has the tools to succeed. But, if he gets lost in his own head or can’t control his approach consistently, it’ll be time to move on.

And, yes, I know I kind of dodged the question. But, I think we’ll have a much clearer answer by the end of the month.

It’s going to be Jack Campbell.

And if it’s not Campbell, that would likely signal the end of his tenure in the Dallas organization.

Radek Faksa recalled by the Dallas Stars

Radek Faksa celebrates his second goal against the San Antonio Rampage last Saturday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Radek Faksa celebrates his second goal against the San Antonio Rampage last Saturday. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Radek Faksa has been recalled by the Dallas Stars, the NHL club announced Friday.

Faksa fills a void left by Curtis McKenzie, who has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.


Travis Moen may also be out with an undisclosed injury, meaning Faksa could make his NHL debut Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

The former first-round pick was arguably Texas’ best player in a 5-4 victory against the San Antonio Rampage last week. He scored a pair of goals and won 11 of 20 face-offs, most of which where taken in the defensive zone.

It was Faksa’s first game in almost 10 months after season-ending shoulder surgery last January, and he didn’t shy away from competition.

You can learn more about that shoulder surgery and recovery in this podcast that Faksa and I recorded last week.

With McKenzie and Faksa’s departure, Matej Stransky and Cory Kane will likely make their season debut tonight against the Chicago Wolves after being healthy scratches last week.

Here is the official release:

FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has recalled forward Radek Faksa from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Faksa, 21, has registered two goals (2-0=2) and a +1 plus/minus rating in one game with Texas this season. The forward has tallied 16 points (7-9=16) and 18 penalty minutes in 41 career AHL regular-season games with Texas. Faksa has also appeared in 21 career postseason games with Texas, posting four goals (4-0=4) during Texas’ 2014 Calder Cup championship run.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Vitkov, Czech Republic was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (13th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Dallas has also placed forward Curtis McKenzie on Injured Reserve with a lower body injury.

Curtis McKenzie recalled by Dallas Stars

Curtis McKenzie has been recalled by the Dallas Stars. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Curtis McKenzie has been recalled by the Dallas Stars. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Curtis McKenzie has been recalled by the Dallas Stars, the NHL club announced Wednesday.

The NHL club had an opening after Patrick Eaves was injured in a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Eaves has been placed on injured reserve.

McKenzie had a trio of assists in Texas season-opening 5-4 victory last Saturday. At practice on Wednesday Derek Hulak was taking his spot on Radek Faksa’s left wing.

Here is the official release:

FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has recalled forward Curtis McKenzie from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

McKenzie, 24, leads Texas with three points (0-3=3) through the first game of the 2015-16 AHL season. The forward recorded four goals and five points (4-1=5) in 36 regular-season NHL contests with Dallas last season. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Golden, B.C. was selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Dallas has also placed forward Patrick Eaves on Injured Reserve with a lower body injury.

One year later: Dallas Stars reaping benefits of Texas’ Calder Cup victory

Patrik Nemeth celebrates the cup winning goal. (Photo by Colin Peddle).

Patrik Nemeth celebrates the cup winning goal. (Photo by Colin Peddle).

It’s been a year since Patrik Nemeth did his best Bobby Orr impression.

The Swedish defenseman skated the length of the ice at St. John’s Mile One Centre, toe dragged an IceCap defender, and lofted a silky backhand over Michael Hutchinson’s glove in overtime.

It was — by far — the biggest goal in franchise history and gave the Texas Stars a chance to hoist the Calder Cup.

One year later the Stars — both Texas and Dallas — are ready to reap the benefits from that champagne-soaked celebration on a rock in the Atlantic Ocean.

The well-known prospects grew up, while unknown assets were mined into potential future Stars.

Brett Ritchie morphed into a clutch goal scorer.

Shaking off an ankle injury, Ritchie scored in each of the final three games — all overtime victories in front of a hostile St. John’s crowd.

Radek Faksa laid the foundation to become a shut-down center in the NHL. Throughout the playoffs he frustrated opponents, giving Dallas’ brass a glimpse of his potential, which unfortunately was sidelined by a shoulder injury this past season.

On draft day Curtis McKenzie and Jyrki Jokipakka weren’t considered cornerstones of the Stars future.

McKenzie was a unheralded sixth-round pick in 2009. Jokipakka was a seventh-round pick in 2011 and his funny-sounding name grabbed more headlines than his potential.

But a championship run changed that.

Jokipakka recently signed a two-year, one-way contract with Dallas and will be a key cog in the NHL defense next season.

McKenzie split time between the NHL and AHL this season. It won’t be much of a split when the NHL season starts in October.

Both launched their stock skyward during the 2013-14 season and further earned an NHL opportunity during the Calder Cup run.

Even those undrafted, then AHL-contracted players parlayed the Calder Cup into organizational depth.

Brendan Ranford and Justin Dowling each seized NHL contracts. Ranford made his NHL debut this past season, while Dowling was on the cusp of an NHL opportunity.

While Dallas is salivating over the growth on offense and defense, the championship created a couple “what if?” story lines in the crease.

Jack Campbell was a spectator in the finals, a product of another injury suffered in a young career that’s been saddled with setbacks.

Cristopher Nilstorp’s play in the playoffs could have been worthy of an NHL backup job with Dallas — a clear position of need — if he wasn’t 30 years old.

However, no one from Dallas is losing sleep over a championship.

In fact, some new dreams were born as Texas hoisted the Calder Cup.

Texas Stars clinch playoff spot with 5-0 win against Hamilton

The Texas Stars are headed to the playoffs. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars are headed to the playoffs. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK – The Texas Stars are going to have a chance to defend their 2014 Calder Cup Title and officially clinched a playoff berth with a 5-0 win against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday.

It’s the fifth time in six seasons the team has reached the postseason since being established in Central Texas, and the Stars left no doubt as they dominated the first period.

Devin Shore and Justin Dowling both scored in the first four minutes — before Hamilton even fired a shot – and Texas had 10 scoring chances in the first period as Hamilton goalie Mike Condon did his best to limit the damage.

It was more than enough for Jack Campbell who stopped 24 shots in his first shutout of the season.

It was a far cry from Friday, where Texas lost 4-3 to Hamilton as early goals in each period where the difference.

“Last night we didn’t come out the way we wanted to and we had some time to reflect on it,” Shore said. “We had another chance the very next day … it didn’t mean scoring a goal or anything like that. We just wanted to make sure we did the right things right off the bat.”

On Saturday, Texas second and third lines brought the energy.

Before Shore’s goal he and his linemates, Brendan Ranford and Scott Glennie, hemmed Hamilton into it’s own defensive zone for nearly 45 seconds. Hamilton’s scrambling defense cleared a couple chances, but Shore eventually scored when he beat Condon from a sharp angle.

“I thought that line was great tonight,” Curtis McKenzie said. “They brought a lot of energy and kind of carried the team. I think Ranford, that’s one his better games I’ve seen him play … it was great to see them rewarded early.”

Dowling, McKenzie, and Brett Ritchie had a similar impact on their next shift.

After winning the puck deep twice and forcing a turnover, McKenzie connected with Dowling on two-on-one rush that easily beat Condon on the glove side.

Texas iced away the game when Eric Tangradi was called for roughing and Bobby Shea was given a 5-minute major for spearing Ritchie with 2:11 remaining in the second period, setting up a lengthy 5-on-3.

Greg Rallo scored during the 5-on-3, one-timing a pass from Maxime Fortunus, while Matt Mangene scored 1:39 into the third period while Hamilton was still shorthanded.

“To get that third goal and the to score at the start of the third period kind of takes a little pressure off the guys,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “They can finish playing and protect the shutout for Jack.”

Rallo added his second goal midway through the third period after a seeing-eye pass from Travis Morin.

This story was originally published in the Austin American-Statesman.