For Episode 7 of our 2013 Summer with the Stars off-season feature, we switch from skaters to a goaltender. Texas Stars broadcaster Owen Newkirk interviewed the Dallas Stars 2010 first round draft pick and returning Texas netminder Jack Campbell. Below are some highlights of our conversation with the Stars left wing, along with a link to the full audio interview.
Listen: CLICK HERE. < Watch for bonus video clips starting at 22:35!
Are you doing anything differently this summer in your training after completing your first full professional season?
So far this summer I’ve been working really hard on my game, just really working on my flexibility and trying to hammer that out with yoga and doing a lot of lifting, things like that. But most importantly I’m just doing a lot of skating, putting on my goalie pads, getting on the ice every day trying to work on my game. Going into training camp I’m going to be very confident.
How difficult was it for you last year, really the first time in your career that you haven’t been the outright number one goaltender on your team?
For one, I really enjoyed my time in Texas last year, playing in front of our fans with some great teammates and coaches. There were a lot of great things to build on for this year. But I definitely learned that pro hockey is a lot different and much more demanding, not just on the ice but how you carry yourself off of it. I’m really happy I went through some of the things I went through last year and it’ll prepare me for this year. Just working on everything this summer, I’m feeling really confident and ready to go this season.
With Dallas re-signing Cristopher Nilstorp and picking up free-agent veteran Dan Ellis, the organization seems to have a very strong depth amongst the top four goaltenders.
Absolutely, I’m really excited about it. It’s a great challenge for me to compete with those guys. Obviously there’s Kari [Lehtonen] who’s a world class goalie at the NHL level and Dan Ellis, NHL vet, really good goalie who we played against a couple times last year. Nilsy’s back and you know he’ll be ready to go next year. Real good depth this year with Dallas’ goalies within the system. I’m just real confident in my game right now so I’m not reading into anything. I don’t really care where I play next year, I just want to play hockey and do everything I can to help whatever team I’m playing for win games.
Is it difficult to balance being so eager to reach the highest levels of the sport, especially when everyone says it takes goaltenders a little longer to develop and mature?
For me, it’s something I’ve had to work on more than anything on the ice related. It’s just maturity and growing up. When I got drafted I was obviously very confident and thought I could just jump right into pro hockey and go off right where I left off with the USA program. You have to be patient, put your time in, work hard, learn a lot and when your time’s ready to come, you have to make the most of your opportunity. So I’m done with the whole rushing to get anywhere. I’m just really excited to play hockey and I can honestly say for the first time in a while I have a clear head and just want to go out there and compete and stop as many pucks as I can. With that mindset I can already tell a big difference in the summer that I’ve had. I’m not really in a rush anymore to get up to the NHL. The NHL is an amazing league, but I just have fun competing in the American league. I have a lot of work to do to get there and I’m just excited to play hockey and get better and win hockey games.
You had a two-game NHL recall last season, backing up Kari Lehtonen in Dallas for road games at Colorado and Los Angeles. It wasn’t your first trip to Staples Center, though, as you were drafted in the first round in 2010 in that building. How neat was it for you to return to that arena?
I got the chills walking into the rink because of how amazing of a day that was on June 25th, a couple years ago. It’s just an amazing venue, a lot of history there not just with hockey, but also with the NBA and things like that. It was a pretty special time to go out there and take warm-ups with Jonathan Quick at the other end and Kari in our net, it was pretty cool. It’s definitely a great atmosphere in there so it was fun to see the game and to be on the bench for it, it was awesome. Definitely got my attention of how great of a hockey city L.A. is and how well the fans are doing to support them.
You won three gold medals playing for Team USA at the Under-18 World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010 and the Under-20 WJC in 2010. Where are those medals currently residing?
[Laughs] Actually, it’s funny, my mom won’t let me touch them. She put them away in a safe because she wants to make sure I have them when I’m older. I haven’t seen them since, what was it Minsk, my last one, during my draft year. So she has them all safely kept and I have all my jerseys. I actually kept all of my world championship goalie pads too, so it’s going to be neat one day when I have a house, I can put them all in the basement in my man cave, it’ll be pretty cool.
Do you have any ambitions of playing again for Team USA, but this time at the senior level in the World Championships or maybe the Olympics?
Oh, absolutely! I was fortunate to play in the World Championships two years ago. I didn’t actually play, but it was fun to be part of the team and I got to backup when Jagr scored three goals against us in the quarterfinals. It was great to play at the men’s stage and see all that, but I definitely want to make Dallas and be an NHL goaltender and then hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to play in some World Championships and the Olympics. Definitely some long term goals for me and a lot of work to do and I’m really excited. There’s a lot brewing in the future!
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