Campoli deserves some slack...but

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 ·

It's old news now, but in case you started your long weekend early the Sens avoided going to arbitration with Chris Campoli. As the veteran d-man signed a new 1 year, 1.4 million dollar contract on Friday. While interviewing Campoli on Friday afternoon, I was surprised to hear him say he had played last season with a sports hernia that he just had corrected with surgery about 8 weeks ago.

This was surprising because not once did we hear one peep from Campoli during what can only be characterized as a disappointing season. A season where the 25 year old saw his stock fall on the blueline to the point where he was scratched and dressed as a forward. The only ailment everyone knew about was the knee injury suffered just before the Olympic break that caused Campoli to miss 8 games.

When you hear fans and media question your play(and don't believe it when players say they don't hear it...they all do, at the very least indirectly) on a constant basis wouldn't it only be human nature to eventually say?

"listen, I'm putting off surgery for a sports hernia until the off-season because if you haven't noticed we're not overly deep on the blueline".

But he didn't. Campoli just rolled with it.

When faced with the choice of easing public criticism by admitting you're playing hurt, or earning more respect from teammates and the coaching staff by sucking it up, Campoli selected the latter. We'll call it anti-Hasek road.

Make no mistake. Bigger things were expected than an 18 point, 67 game season. Whenever the coaching staff was asked about Campoli's sub-par play the common refrain was they wanted to see him be harder on the puck and to just be more consistent with his overall level of play. Garry Galley once told me that if you make the decision to play hurt, you'd better play well because nobody cares how you're feeling once you decide to compete.

In hindsight, knowing what we know now about his season Campoli deserves a little slack. However, with a crowded blueline, he knows that slack won't matter once training camp starts and he's battling the likes of Brian Lee, Matt Carkner and host of youngsters led by Jared Cowen for the last 2 spots in the top 6.

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Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.
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