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Features

Campbell Once Again Rewarding Tallon's Faith

Thursday, 01.12.2012 / 5:00 PM / Features
By Alain Poupart  - NHL.com Correspondent
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Campbell Once Again Rewarding Tallon\'s Faith
Written off by some, the Florida defenseman is an All-Star once again in his first season after Dale Tallon -- who once signed him to a mega-deal in Chicago -- acquired him in a trade.
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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 0 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 1 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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