Gameday Preview: Texas Stars v. Rockford IceHogs

Texas Stars
12-9-1-1, 26 pts
#3 Pacific Division
v.Rockford IceHogs
15-5-1-2, 33 pts
#1 Central Division
December 8th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Don't look now, but the IceHogs used the past week to vault to the top of the Central Division. Really, the entire Central Division is on fire at the moment. Currently, the third place team has a .659 points percentage. What the what? It probably helps that the two worst teams in the league are both in the division. Iowa and Manitoba are a combined 9-31-2-4. The Stars will play five of their next seven games against the Central Division; none will be against the Moose or Wild.

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Moose aren't really the concern at the moment. The elephant is. That elephant is the goaltending situation.

Jack Campbell is not faring well in his return to the pipes in Texas. Aside from a win in Bakersfield before Thanksgiving, he has allowed at least three in every game he's played in. His goals against average is 4.27 and his SV% is .862.

Campbell has always been an eager and athletic goalie. He garnered praise when he entered the league for never giving up on a puck and always playing like he could make every save.

Now that he is a veteran, what was once perceived as athleticism is now over-eagerness. He should have an economy of movement instead of the frenetic attitude he often takes in net.

Further, you can read his mood in his body language. On a route shot into the zone last home game, Campbell miscalculated the angle and moved to deflect it. The puck was nowhere near the net and his movement was superfluous. Instantly, you could see the shoulders sink as the puck rimmed around the boards. Little things like that are adding up to easy shots that are missed and failing to execute on the simple plays that should be made.

If Campbell continues to play, you have to believe it's not Derek Laxdal's choice. His play is not giving the Stars the best chance to win every night.

But then again, what do you do to get him in gear? The Stars have the highest flyign offense in the West. If games are still being lost with that offense in front of him, Campbell might find himself in a tough spot very soon.

Stars injury/call up report:

Blog (unofficial): Rockford IceHogs Fan Blog
Twitter: @goicehogs


  1. I’m a Jack fan but I have to agree with Steven (and to an extent my anonymous sparring partner). I wanted him to get a fresh start this year with some consistent play but his numbers are terrible. The AHL list has a list of the top goalies who have played a minimum of 420 minutes. The list has 48 goalies and Campbell is #48. Teams need goalies to bail them out every once and a while. Goalies are called upon to make heroic saves or even standard saves at key times in a game. These saves prevent an opposing team from cutting the lead to one, or tying the game or even going up by one. When goalie lets one in at the wrong time it can be a back breaker.

    It’s unfortunate that Jack hasn’t been able to come up with these saves. I know jack is talented, a hard worker and has a great personality. I’ve been thinking about what the team has to do to make Jack successful (consistent playing time in the net, consistent defensemen pairings, solid offense) but at the end of the day, Jack has to deal with whatever circumstances he gets and must find a way to make the team successful. A team has a particular style and needs. The goalie must meet the needs of the team, not the other way around. In the NHL, a team can’t send their goalie down to the next league every time they have a bad stretch. It happens once or twice then they get another goalie. I hope Campbell turns the corner soon and becomes the goalie we need him to be.

  2. I've said it all season. Some think I'm just trolling, but I'm just a fan who has seen him, evaluated him, gien him a second and third chance, and decided: Jack Campbell sucks. He isn't a top goalie. He will NEVER be an NHL goalie, and the sooner that the Stars cut their losses with this guy the better. One more year of this kind of mediocrity (at best) and they won't even be able to get anything for him in a trade.

  3. I have to agree with anonymous. Campbell is terrible. Unfortunately for Laxdal, Dallas management are the ones forcing him to play Campbell, it's pretty obvious. This will likely continue thru the end of the season. They have to ride it out for the sole reason that he was a first rounder. If he was a deeper pick, he would be hanging out with Scott Glennie right now.

    It's important to know that Dallas ownership and management are not looking for Texas to be a winner. They do not care much about attendance. The Texas Stars are simply a convenient location for developing their prospects.

    All that being said, it's still generally a fun team to watch. When we do win, it's despite the goaltending, not because of it, which then becomes a high offense game.

    See y'all at the game...


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