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Campbell Leading By Example

The NHLPA takes a look at the Panthers defenseman

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 3:52 PM ET / News
By Chris Lomon
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Campbell Leading By Example
The NHLPA takes a look at the Panthers defenseman

There were times early on in his big-league career when Brian Campbell questioned how his hockey life would play out. Nearly 900 NHL games and one Stanley Cup later, the veteran defenceman found the answer he was hoping for.

After four standout seasons with the Ottawa 67’s, the mobile blueliner from Strathroy, Ontario, was aiming to make a smooth transition from the Ontario Hockey League ranks to hockey’s highest level.

It didn’t pan out as Campbell envisioned.

Drafted 156th overall in 1997 by Buffalo, he would divide his time between Rochester, the Sabres’ American Hockey League affiliate, and the Eastern Conference squad, before finally netting full-time NHL duty in 2002-03.

“I didn’t think, at least back then, that it would turn out the way it has,” said Campbell, who went on to win a slew of awards in his final year of junior in 1998-99, including Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year. “I was 24 or 25 and still trying to solidify myself in the NHL. There were times I was a healthy scratch. It took a long time for things to come together, but it was well worth it.”

Was it ever.

Dealt to San Jose in 2008, Campbell signed an eight-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks that same year, winning a Stanley Cup two years later with the Original Six club.

During the 2011 NHL Draft, he was traded to Florida. He responded in his first campaign with the Panthers by recording 49 points and winning the Lady Byng Award, which honours a player that exhibits sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.

Last season, Campbell appeared in all 82 regular season games, giving him 838 for his career.

“You look back at the moments where you contemplated your future, whether you’d be playing in the NHL or overseas,” recalled the 35-year-old. “I think it was really just about keeping at it, not giving up, and above all else, working hard.”

Hard work is a term Campbell uses often. It’s also something he imparts to his younger teammates in his role as alternate captain.

He also knows that’s precisely what the Panthers will need if they are to make a return to the playoffs. The last time Florida made the post-season was in 2011-12, the year they won the Southeast Division.

“There is definitely promise there,” said Campbell. “If we compete like we can, that will give us a shot. The key is to get a good start. If you do that, it sets things up to be strong down the stretch. If you don’t begin well, it seems like you are fighting the entire year. A strong start puts you in that better position and a better mindset in the dressing room.”

Campbell will certainly remind himself and others of what it will take to achieve their main objective.

“Sometimes, it’s words,” he offered. “Sometimes, it’s work.”

The very two things that brought Brian Campbell to this point in his NHL career.

More from the NHLPA.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 74 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 76 8 33 -4 41
B. Boyes 74 13 23 10 36
A. Ekblad 76 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 67 18 14 -6 32
A. Barkov 66 14 17 -3 31
B. Campbell 77 3 23 2 26
B. Pirri 44 21 2 6 23
D. Bolland 48 5 16 1 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 18 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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