NHL

Campbell ready to play for Oilers despite having a broken nose on the bench

Campbell ready to play for Oilers despite having a broken nose on the bench

NEW YORK — Jack Campbell said he is available to play for the Edmonton Oilers despite a broken nose on Monday.

Campbell was on the bench as Stuart Skinner‘s backup during a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils when he was hit in the face by a puck in the second period.

“They always take the goaltender’s chair 30 seconds (before the end of the period) so the guys can walk and the coaches can walk (to the locker room),” Campbell told NHL.com. “So it was straight up, leaning in a little bit. We tried to get it deeper, it was a pretty hard pusher and [a Devils defenseman]good hand/eye coordination, hit it straight out of the air and right off my nose.”

Campbell had a cut on the bridge of his nose closed and a doctor adjusted his nose, making him unavailable for the game. But he practiced Tuesday and said he would be ready if needed for Edmonton’s game at the New York Islanders on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, MSGSN, ESPN+, SN NOW).

If Campbell does play, it would be his first game since Nov. 10, when he allowed seven goals on 32 shots in a 7-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He has backed up Skinner the last four games.

In the first season of a five-year, $25 million deal he signed with the Oilers on July 13, the 30-year-old is 6-4-0 with a 4.27 goals-against average and a save percentage of 0.873.

“He knows he’s better than he’s shown, we know he’s better than he’s shown,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said after practice Tuesday. “He’s put in a lot of work over the last week. When he starts, we’re excited for him because he’s a great teammate and someone they want to play with.”

Campbell said he has made some technical adjustments during his practice days working with goaltending coach Dustin Schwartz, but said the most important thing for him is to enjoy playing again.

“It’s just relaxing and having fun,” he said. “It’s really when I’m playing my best. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and to this point I definitely feel like I’ve got more. So just getting back to having fun and stopping pucks.”

Campbell’s teammates also feel they can do more to support him.

“I think he would be the first to accept that it can be better,” he added Leon Draisaitl said “But we have to give him a game where he can find his game a little bit and not take 42 shots against. We have to find a way to help him more.”

The Oilers have allowed 34.4 shots per game, fifth most in the NHL.

Campbell said a big help in his game is the competition he faces in practice every day, including the NHL’s two leading scorers, forwards. Connor McDavid, with 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists), and Draisaitl, with 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists). He also mentioned Zach Hyman.

“Having Zack, Connor and Leon here, we’ve got a lot of big forwards here,” he said. “Every day you’re getting elite offensive guys, so it definitely forces me to be at my best in practice and it’s going to translate into a game. … I definitely find it prepares you well.”

Woodcroft said he has seen the right kind of work from Campbell during what the coach called an opportunity for a physical and mental reset.

“I think confidence is earned, and it usually starts right here on the practice rink,” Woodcroft said. “To have a breather and for Stuart to play at the level that has allowed us to give him a bit of a breather. It’s a bit of a reset for him.

“He’s a popular teammate, he works his tail off and we’re confident he’ll be good in his next outing.”





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