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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 - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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