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.

Texas Stars send Maxime Lagace to ECHL in attempt to maximize playing time

Maxime Lagace has been sent down to the ECHL. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Maxime Lagace has been sent down to the ECHL. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars decided it’s better to have Maxime Lagace playing in the ECHL rather than sitting on a bench in the AHL.

Lagace was assigned to the Idaho Steelheads on Thursday. It’s a move Texas Stars general manager Scott White felt will get the 22-year-old goaltender playing more games as the AHL club turns to Jack Campbell, who made his season debut in a 6-3 win against the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday.

“This was always our plan,” White said. “He could stay in Texas and play 20 games. Or he could play 40 games in Idaho … it’s all about maximizing playing time.”

Campbell is a former first-round pick who missed the first month of the season with finger injury. Now that he’s healthy, the plan is for him to play as often as possible, while John Muse will serve as the back-up and play sparingly — a role he signed on for when he inked his AHL contract this summer.

Lagace will take a wealth of AHL experience with him to the ECHL. The rookie started seven of Texas’ first 11 games before Campbell returned and posted a .913 save percentage and 2.60 goals against average.

Idaho plays three games in three nights this weekend, meaning Lagace will probably start at least two of those games. Campbell will likely start both of Texas games this weekend against the Stockton Heat on Saturday and San Antonio on Sunday.

Here is the official release:

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced on Thursday that rookie goaltender Maxime Lagace has been reassigned to the team’s ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.
Lagace (luh-GAH-say), 22, has appeared in seven games this season for Texas with a 4-3-0 record, a 2.60 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of Saint-Augustin, Quebec split 28 games last season at the ECHL level between the Bakersfield Condors and Missouri Mavericks with a combined 2.85 goals against average and .901 save percentage.

Texas Stars Morning Skate: Patrick Nemeth excited for chance to play during conditioning stint

Patrik Nemeth will start his conditioning stint with the Texas Stars tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Patrik Nemeth will start his conditioning stint with the Texas Stars tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — Patrik Nemeth didn’t have to skate late with the healthy scratches after a morning skate on Wednesday.

And after watching 14 of the Dallas Stars first 16 games from a press box, Nemeth is looking forward to an opportunity to log heavy minutes during his conditioning stint with the Texas Stars — which starts tonight in a 7:30 p.m. game against the San Antonio Rampage.

“I think it’s going to be great, it’s a lot of games in the amount of time I can be here,” Nemeth said. “It’s really exciting being here. (To) get some games and hopefully play well.”

The conditioning stint is setup with a chance for Nemeth to play seven games in 14 days with Texas. That plan isn’t finalized, but Nemeth said he’ll likely be in the AHL for the full two-week period allowed under the CBA.

“For me, it’s try to get comfortable as soon as a I can,” Nemeth said. “Maybe play simple in the beginning and just find your game.”

He’s expected to be paired with Julius Honka this evening and Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal said Nemeth will be part of the penalty kill.

Nemeth is one of four new additions to the Stars lineup this evening.

Devin Shore is back with the AHL team after his first NHL call-up, Emil Molin will make his AHL debut after being recalled from the Idaho Steelheads, and Jack Campbell will make his first start of the season.

“It feels great, it’s kind of been a waiting game,” Campbell said. “It’s been frustrating, especially having the finger injury because you want to play through it. But there’s possible side effects. It’s just nice to avoid (those), I’ve been patient, and now I’m ready to play.”

Campbell will be backed up by John Muse tonight. Maxime Lagace, who started the past three games, didn’t skate this morning and was having a maintenance day.

Shore said he’s going to rely on his new NHL experience, but he’s not going to change the way he approaches the game.

“I just try to play my game, obviously you embrace the role you’re given,” Shore said. “Whatever level you’re playing you have to make adjustments. But I just focus on playing the same complete game I’ve played my entire life.”

And Shore’s role on Wednesday will be as the second-line center between Jason Dickinson and Matej Stransky.

Remi Elie is day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Justin Dowling has taken his place on the top line.

San Antonio will also be fielding a new-look lineup tonight. Since the team’s met on Saturday, Patrick Bordelau has been suspended three games for a boarding incident, while Andreas Martinsen has been recalled by the Colorado Avalanche.

Stars likely lineup:
Justin Dowling-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Jason Dickinson-Devin Shore-Matej Stransky
Derek Hulak-Gemel Smith-Greg Rallo
Emil Molin-Cory Kane-Branden Troock

Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Patrick Nemeth-Julius Honka
Ludwig Bystrom-Jesse Blacker

Jack Campbell

Texas Stars goalie Jack Campbell shares story behind ‘American Sniper’ mask

Jack Campbell during warmups last week. Campbell is wearing a mask this season honoring the life of Chris Kyle. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jack Campbell during warmups last week. Campbell is wearing a mask this season honoring the life of Chris Kyle. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Throughout his career, Texas Stars goalie Jack Campbell has been a supporter of the American military forces and he’s always made space for the armed forces on his goalie mask.

This year Campbell is wearing a mask that honors the life of Chris Kyle, the United States Navy SEAL who was the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military History and was killed in 2013 at a shooting range. He was at the shooting range as part of his post-military efforts helping veterans with post traumatic street disorder.

Kyle’s story was widely publicized in his 2012 auto biography and the 2014 film American Sniper.

I talked with Campbell this past weekend, and he shared the story behind his new mask.


What’s the story behind your mask?

I’m a big supporter of the military and I respect the men and women that fight for our country. I put Chris Kyle on my mask. Obviously last year he had the movie and the book, and he’s just a true American hero and he’s from Texas. So I just thought that was really cool and special.

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This is the skull that he put on his uniform, his and his guys. My mask artist David Gunnarsson out in Sweden did a great job. He actually helps, too. As much as I know about the book and movie, he adds a lot of great details.

We got a bunch of really cool stuff on this side, then I always do the team thing on one side. Plus I made it all dark, because I feel like Chris got his hands dirty and was a warrior, so I tried to make it intimidating as a I could.

Have you spoken to Kyle’s family about the mask?

Actually the person who handles his twitter account messaged me, and we’re going to get something going as far as foundation, something like that . We just started talking. It be really cool to work with that foundation and the Chris Kyle Foundation.

What did you take from reading his book American Sniper?

As much as I read it to be wowed by what our men and women are doing overseas, and in our country, fighting for us. The training that special operations as well as the military do, it really makes me more motivated and helps me. Seeing that they can go over and defend our country against the unknown, it makes me feel like I should never have anything to complain about over here.

You’ve always put military elements on your masks, what started that?

My trainer back home gave me Fearless, that’s another incredible book. We both read it together. At the end he gave me these dog tags, then I just kind of got obsessed with the SEALS and stuff. They get a lot of publicity, but I really appreciate all the branches. I ended up reading the book twice that summer, that was when I was 19, and it kind of took off from there. I don’t have too many things I’m really keen on. But the military is just one thing that I picked throughout my life, because it continues to wow me and to appreciate everyone that’s in it. That’s why I choose the military to put on all my masks.

Morning Skate: Campbell to back-up Lagace when Stars and Rampage clash

The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage meet again tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage meet again tonight. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — After playing on opening night the Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage went nearly a month without clashing.

Tonight they’ll kick off a stretch where four of Texas’ next five games are against its Interstate 35 rival.

And both teams are entering tonight’s clash playing their best hockey of the young season.

Texas used that opening night victory to spark a 7-2-1 start, the best 10-game start in franchise history.

San Antonio has been just as good, and have yet to lose in regulation this season. The Rampage are 5-0-3 after a 4-3 overtime loss against the Chicago Wolves on Friday.

San Antonio has been led by reigning AHL goalie of the month Calvin Pickard. Pickard has a .935 save percentage and 2.18 goals against average, and he’s been under constant siege behind a defense that’s willing to trade chances.

The Stars crease will also be in the spotlight tonight.

Jack Campbell was activated from the NHL injured reserve list and officially sent down to Texas on Saturday. He’ll back-up Maxime Lagace, who will make his third straight start, while John Muse will be a healthy scratch.

It should be a crisper start for Texas after last weekend’s first-period performance against the Bakersfield Condors. In those games Texas started slow, but battled back and won both contests.

Stars coach Derek Laxdal attributed that to Texas lack of practice, which can lead to a team “losing it’s game” early. The Stars had four days of practice before this game, plus a morning skate, so there isn’t an excuse for a slow start.

Projected lineup:

Remi Elie-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Derek Hulak-Justin Dowling-Greg Rallo
Cole Ully-Jason Dickinson-Matej Stransky
Cory Kane-Gemel Smith-Branden Troock

Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Mattias Backman-Julius Honka
Brennan Evans-Jesse Blacker

Maxime Lagace