Longtime pro Andrew Campbell ready for NHL debut
Manchester Monarchs captain Andrew Campbell was well into his pre-game routine yesterday as he napped in advance of the team’s game against the Hartford Wolf Pack. His phone was on silent mode.
After he missed five phone calls from team management, an assistant trainer paid a house visit and banged on his apartment door to wake the lanky defenseman from his slumber. He was a bearer of good news. Campbell was receiving a call-up to the parent club.
“So that was a good wake up,” said Campbell, who flew through Montreal and arrived in Vancouver at 11:00 p.m. last night.
Affectionately known as “Soup,” Campbell was selected in the third round in 2008 and is a six-year pro who has played all 444 of his professional regular season and playoff games with the Monarchs. He was called up early last season and practiced with the team but did not get into a game as Keaton Ellerby was acquired soon after his recall.
There were several flights that he took with the Kings – mostly during the preseason – and an awful lot of bus rides.
“You have those moments and those days. The season gets long and you wonder if you’re ever going to get your chance. I like to keep a positive outlook now and I still kept on to that dream,” said Campbell, who will make his NHL debut tonight in Vancouver on a Hockey Night in Canada telecast.
“I have a great support group at home of friends and family. They’ve always been there for me and they always keep me positive and tell me to keep pushing forward. It’s a huge credit to them as well.”
There were several players described as “day-to-day” by Darryl Sutter after Los Angeles’ morning skate at Rogers Arena. While Drew Doughty and Dwight King have drawn the most recent notice, Robyn Regehr may also be among the players battling through the nagging ailments typically associated with playing hockey in April. Regehr, who has appeared in all 78 games this season, participated in an optional morning skate and remained on the ice later than any other player. It is possible that Campbell would take his spot in the lineup, with Willie Mitchell, who used Thursday’s game in San Jose as a maintenance day, drawing back in. Doughty is not expected to play.
Learning he’d be in the lineup sounded like it was everything Campell hoped it would be.
“I kind of got like a shiver right down my body,” he said. “I was like ‘Wow, this is going to be the night.’”
In 68 games with the Monarchs, the 6-foot-3, 205 blueliner has three goals and 15 points.
“Campbell’s been here as long as Slava. We know Campbell well,” Sutter said. “I mean, I’ve seen him through two or three camps. He was Slava’s partner in the American Hockey League. He was a captain of the hockey team. He’s a guy that’s done it the hard way, so he’s earned his right, I think. I’m excited for him.”
Assistant General Manager Rob Blake explained why it was Campbell, and not Jeff Schultz, or Brayden McNabb, or Andrew Bodnarchuk who received the call-up.
“He’s playing the best down there. Steadiest, most reliable. All those things,” Blake said. “That’s kind of a tribute to what he’s done all year.”
Andrew Campbell, on whether his parents will make it to the game:
I’m not sure, hopefully. I haven’t checked my phone yet to see if they got on a flight or not.
Campbell, on whether he’ll be in the lineup:
Yeah, I talked to Darryl before the skate and he let me know that I’d be going tonight. He gave me a good heads up.
Campbell, on his mindset heading into his first NHL game:
It’s just thrill and excitement. It’s been a long time, a long time in the minors and a lot of hard work and a lot of pushing through. So it’s a pretty exciting feeling right now.
Campbell, on staying in contact with former Monarchs on the Kings’ roster:
I’m really close with Muzz. We only live 45 minutes apart back in Ontario. We golf five or six times in the summer and go on different trips together. We text each other a couple times a week, so I keep in coach touch with him and a couple other guys too.
Campbell, on the possibility of being paired with Slava Voynov:
There is a familiarity there, for sure. We played together and he’s a good buddy of mine too. We talk too, so there is definitely familiarity.