Chicago Blackhawks: With Campbell Returning, Hjalmarsson Should Step Up His Game

Mikal ElyseCorrespondent INovember 1, 2010

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 02:  Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his first period goal against the New York Islanders with teammate Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 on March 2, 2010 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Brian Campbell will be back in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.

In addition to the smile on my own face and the rest of Blackhawks' fans, Niklas Hjalmarsson’s smile should be never-ending.

The struggling Hjalmarsson is minus-8 in 11 games without his defensive partner, Campbell, who has been missed severely by all of Chicago since preseason. With having Campbell back, the defense is intact and will become more consistent once again. 

Hjalmarsson was not the only one affected by Campbell’s injury. The entire team, particularly the defense, suffered. Coach Joel Quenneville should be able to cut minutes on the ice for Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. Keith is averaging the league-high of 29:09 a game while Seabrook is at 25:51.

Gratefully the two of them can take a little breather on the bench and expectantly get their game in sync. Campbell demonstrates remarkable charisma throughout the ice and Chicago. 

With two key players notwithstanding injuries (Marian Hossa and Dave Bolland) this is time for the Blackhawks defense to lend a hand to their injured forwards.

Mikal Elyse is a Featured Columnist and co-owner of chicagosportsauthority.com