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Campbell Once Again Rewarding Tallon's Faith

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 5:00 PM ET / Features
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Campbell Once Again Rewarding Tallon\'s Faith
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -- Brian Campbell once again has rewarded Dale Tallon's faith in him.

As it happened with Chicago after Tallon signed him to a controversial free-agent contract, Campbell earned a spot in the NHL All-Star Game in his first season with the Florida Panthers after being acquired by Tallon in another hotly-debated move.

"Dale has been great to me and he's shown a lot of confidence in me," Campbell said. "For me, it translates over into my play where I should have a lot of confidence in my game and myself."

Campbell was the lone Florida player selected to the 2012 All-Star Game despite the team sitting atop the Southeast Division standings.

The Panthers haven't had more than one All-Star since 2000 when Pavel Bure, Viktor Kozlov and Ray Whitney all were selected.

The Panthers had several other worthy candidates this year, such as Campbell's defense partner Jason Garrison, who leads all NHL defensemen with 11 goals, and all three players on the top line -- Stephen Weiss, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann.


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"Great for Soupy, he's earned it," Tallon said. "He's had a great career and he's playing really well for us. I think that's fantastic. Obviously, Flash and Weisser and Steeger are deserving as well and Garry -- Jason's been terrific. We had a lot of candidates. It's been fun, and moving forward we're going to have a lot of candidates. That's what it's all about."

For Campbell, this will be his fourth All-Star Game appearance. His first two came with Buffalo in 2007 and 2008 before he was dealt to San Jose at the trade deadline when he was an impending free agent.

Tallon then signed Campbell to an eight-year, $56 million contract that was criticized in many circles. But Campbell earned an All-Star Game invitation in his first year with the Hawks and in his second season -- when there was no All-Star Game because of the Winter Olympics -- he helped Chicago win its first Stanley Cup title since 1961.

Tallon brought Campbell down to Florida this summer as the centerpiece of his rebuilding project, acquiring him for underachieving former first-round pick Rostislav Olesz. While Olesz is playing in the minors after clearing waivers, Campbell is second in the NHL in scoring among defensemen with 33 points.

"I know what he brings to the table every night and I know how much he cares and how much he wants to play," Tallon said. "We brought him into Chicago to win and they won, and we're going to do the same thing here. And he wants to win, as well, and wants to play a lot, and it's fun to watch."

Before making his NHL debut in the 1999-2000 season, Campbell played in the OHL for Ottawa, so this year's All-Star Game will be a homecoming of sorts.

The game also will be played only 6 1/2 hours away from his hometown of Strathroy, Ontario, and he expects his parents to make the drive for the game.

"I'm excited to go," Campbell said. "I felt like I had a fairly good first half and can't wait to represent the Panthers.

"The first one was really special. This one probably is the best for myself. I feel like I've put a lot of work in. I feel like I've been written off a little bit sometimes by some people. This one probably means the most to me out of all of them. I love where I'm playing right now, I love the situation. It's very rewarding with all the work that I've put into it to be able to go."

Campbell plans to bring back souvenirs from the weekend, as he did in his previous three All-Star trips.

They were all enjoyable experiences, except for one scary moment involving the skills competition.

"I remember the first year I got there I was in hardest shot and I went right to one of the coaches and I said, 'I am not doing hardest shot, I'll tell you that right now. I will not embarrass myself.'" Campbell recalled with a laugh. "Brian Rafalski was doing fastest skater and we switched, so I didn't have to embarrass myself. So I did fastest skater that year. As long as I don't do hardest shot, I'll do anything else. Just please not that one."

Author: Alain Poupart | NHL.com Correspondent




1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

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