Chicago Blackhawks D Brian Campbell Injured: Fantasy Hockey Impact

Fantasy KnuckleheadsCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2010

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 02:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the New York Islanders on March 2, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Isles defeated the Hawks 5-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Chicago Blackhawks suffered what could become a devastating injury on their blue line when Brian Campbell was hit from behind by Alex Ovechkin early in the first period. Campbell remained on the ice for some time before being helped to the dressing room.

Ovechkin received a five minute penalty for boarding and his fourth game misconduct of the season for the hit. Washington came back to win the game with three goals in the third period and one in overtime, stealing two points from the Blackhawks 4-3 .

The loss of Campbell for any amount of time could be devastating to the Blackhawks, and could hurt your fantasy team even if you don’t own him.

Campbell had been playing at a high level all season, averaging 23:30 on ice (third on the Blackhawks, two seconds behind Brent Seabrook for second) and had scored 38 points (7 G, 31 A). His +17 rating was one of the best of his career, and ranks among the best for defensemen in the NHL .

Taking Campbell off your fantasy roster for some time will likely mean you will need to, somehow, replace one of your top two defensemen. That’s not likely going to happen easily, sorry to say. At this point in the season, finding a sleeper to give you the production a player like Campbell has all season is hard to do. For a few ideas, check out our Defense Rankings .

However, the indirect impact could hammer owners of other Blackhawks’ defensemen.

Duncan Keith played over 34 minutes on Sunday, and Seabrook has also been putting in too many minutes lately.

Considering that Kim Johnsson , acquired from Minnesota before the Olympics, also missed Sunday’s game with an upper body injury, the Hawks could be working with a seriously thin blue line against some good offensive teams in the next week. Wednesday Chicago visits the Anaheim Ducks before travelling to the LA Kings and Phoenix Coyotes .

Campbell has already been ruled out for the three-game trip, according to Chicago coach Joel Quenneville after the game Sunday.

This means that either Jordan Hendry and Brent Sopel will continue to see more minutes than normal (or comfortable for Chicago fans), or the Blackhawks might need to consider bringing a defenseman up from Rockford. The most likely candidate would be Nick Boynton , acquired in a minor deal at the trade deadline.

Adding a player like Boynton presents other issues for the Blackhawks. With centers Dave Bolland and Adam Burish coming back from long-term injuries, the Hawks are now scratching two healthy forwards for every game. Adding another defenseman to the roster puts the Blackhawks not only at their maximum number of players on the active roster (potentially scratching three per game), but also put them dangerously close to the salary cap.

How the entire situation shakes down in Chicago could be a mess.

However, fantasy owners should be carefully watching a number of pieces to this puzzle.

First, watch for a formal announcement on Campbell’s injury (we’ll update you here on FantasyKnuckleheads when that happens).

Secondly, owners of Keith, Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson should do what the Blackhawks cannot afford to do and consider sitting them. These three will be playing a lot of heavy minutes and they’ve already shown signs of fatigue.

Third, if you own either Cristobal Huet or Antti Niemi , make sure you’re heavily medicated.

Overall, this injury could be a deal-breaker for the Blackhawks and your fantasy team in the playoffs.

If you didn’t know we have an entire fantasy baseball section and fantasy baseball RSS feed . We cover fantasy baseball rankings , fantasy baseball sleepers , and almost everyday we’ll bring you some fantasy baseball news and advice .

Want to join a highly competitive fantasy baseball league? Compete against the fantasy knuckleheads staff by joining our league : League ID 432046 League Password: knuckleheads When you join post a message on the message board letting us know you’re serious. Draft is 11:15 PST / 2:15 EST on Sunday March 21.

We have it set up as an auction draft. You are set up with $260 and you need to bid accordingly on players. Free agents are handled with FAAB. You have $100 to spend the entire season. Your team will have two C, one 1B, one 2B, one 3B, one SS, one Corner Infielder, one Middle Infielder, five OF, two DH, nine P, and five bench players.