Campbell, Sound Tigers hold their own in scrimmage vs. Islanders
Updated 10:45 pm, Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Campbell and the rest of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers got a real taste of the Show on Wednesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The unusual circumstances of the NHL lockout landed them in a scrimmage against the New York Islanders, midseason for them, preseason for the NHLers.
"It was an awesome experience," said Campbell, 26, a second-year pro who has been on a tryout with the Sound Tigers for about a month. "To go out there and just see the level of play of those guys, the skill level, the compete level and get an idea of how hard they work."
When the NHL owners finally opened their doors Sunday, the Islanders called up six players from the Sound Tigers. Five of them -- Ty Wishart was sent down Tuesday after New York made two waiver claims -- played against their former teammates Wednesday.
"(Camp) has been an unreal experience," said Jon Landry, one of the call-ups, trying to reach the NHL for the first time a few months before his 30th birthday. "I'm just trying to take it in as much as I can, learn as much as I can and work as hard as I can."
It may have only been a scrimmage, but Landry said it hit him Wednesday, walking into the Coliseum.
"Knowing I was putting on an Islander jersey," said the new No. 43, "and the history that goes with putting on an Islander jersey, the amount of players in the Hall of Fame."
Landry's and other promotions opened the door for other players to step into bigger roles for Bridgeport, or at least to play them more consistently. Campbell had a bit of a niche already.
"He's a quiet, solid player," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "He does so many things very well, whether it's five-on-five, killing penalties, faceoffs; he can play the wing. I really like the structure of his game. He's a good pro."
Wednesday's scrimmage set a Blue team, made up of more or less the Islanders, against a White team, Bridgeport plus top prospects Ryan Strome and Griffin Reinhart. Islanders goalies Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov played the whole game, changing teams midway.
Blue outshot White 39-17. But with help from three power-play goals, the White team won 5-3 over 60 minutes. A shootout finally gave the Blue team the win -- at least, by the Islanders' reckoning -- as DiPietro wasn't beaten in seven tries.
Shootout aside, when the teams played something resembling hockey, Campbell -- without an AHL goal in 27 games, including eight this year for the Sound Tigers -- deflected in a Reinhart shot to break a 3-3 tie.
"It's always nice to score a goal," Campbell said. "It's a little bit of a relief, kind of, to finally get one with these guys and get one at the American League level.
"Even in a game like this, it's never a bad feeling."
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