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Campbell Leading By Example

The NHLPA takes a look at the Panthers defenseman

Tuesday, 08.19.2014 / 3:52 PM / 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.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 65 41 18 6 175 146 88
2 NYI 66 42 21 3 211 185 87
3 TBL 66 40 20 6 217 173 86
4 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 66 35 21 10 194 164 80
8 BOS 63 31 22 10 168 165 72
9 FLA 65 28 23 14 159 185 70
10 PHI 65 28 25 12 173 187 68
11 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 65 26 34 5 175 199 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 65 22 17 -8 39
J. Huberdeau 62 10 28 2 38
J. Jokinen 64 6 29 0 35
A. Ekblad 65 11 23 7 34
B. Boyes 63 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 60 12 19 -10 31
J. Hayes 56 17 12 -5 29
B. Campbell 65 3 20 1 23
A. Barkov 54 10 12 -7 22
D. Kulikov 56 3 15 -5 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .921 2.37
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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