During Ottawa’s last visit to New Jersey, I was able to catch up with ex-Islander defenseman Chris Campoli who was traded on February 20 to the Senators with Mike Comrie for Dean McAmmond and a 2009 first round pick. Campoli, who had played his first three-and-a-half seasons on Long Island, had privately asked GM Garth Snow for a trade, and was looking for a change in his career.
As he explains, he has no ill-feelings towards the Islanders, their fans or the city of Long Island, and when I spoke to him I sensed he was being truthful; I also got a sense that the 25-year-old misses the friends and teammates that he left behind.
For those of you that were fans of his, or purchased an Isles jersey with his name and number on it and still follow his career despite the fact he no longer wears orange and blue, he has a message for you…read on to find out what it is.
Dan Rice: What do you remember about your first goal?
Chris Campoli: “It was probably the best moment of my hockey career so far. It was a crazy moment for me; I probably had 60 family and friends there from Toronto, because the game was in Buffalo. It was a great moment, something I’ll never forget: Mike York shot it from the half-wall on a power play, I believe, and it was kicked out to me on the weak side of the ice by (Ryan) Miller and my shot hit the shaft of his stick, I almost missed it, but it went in.”
Campoli scored his first NHL goal — on his first shot — in his first game — on October 5, 2005 at Buffalo. He was the fourth Islanders rookie since 1990 to score a goal in his debut.
DR: Do you have the puck?
CC: “I do.”
DR: When you look back at your time with the Islanders, what comes to mind?
CC: “Nothing but positive things; it was a great time for me. I thank them for giving me my opportunity to play this game that I love — I owe them a lot for that. I still have a lot of close friends on Long Island, I loved playing there, I loved living there and the fans are great. I have nothing but good memories.”
DR: Do you have any message for the Islanders fans and those who are still fans of yours?
CC: “Yeah, I do: thank you for your support all of those years. I loved playing there and I’m really appreciative for everything that everybody did for me.”
DR: Was it tough when you were traded?
CC: “It was very difficult. Yeah, it was a tough day. It was something that — I had asked to be traded — I thought I needed a change in my career and I had no hard feelings towards the Islanders’ organization. Something like that was a tough decision for me to make and I don’t think it was an easy thing for Garth either. It worked out, I moved on to a new opportunity and I’m happy in Ottawa. But like I said I take nothing but positive things from my past and I can’t thank them enough for giving me my opportunity.”
DR: Who’s the best roommate that you’ve had in your career?
CC: “Definitely Trent Hunter, he and I are still close friends.”
DR: Who’s the toughest player for you to play against?
CC: “I’d probably say Sidney Crosby.”
DR: Do you have a pre-game routine or ritual?
CC: “Not really. I get to the rink around the same time as the other guys and just preparing mentally to play. I think that’s the biggest thing as a professional.”
DR: Do you have a favorite movie?
CC: “I like The Hangover right now; that was a pretty funny movie.”
DR: What is your favorite sport other than hockey?
CC: “I’d have to say baseball.”
Dan Rice covers the New Jersey Devils & NHL for NYCSportsnetwork.com & contributes to MaxHockey.com as well as IslesNation.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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