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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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 63 22 16 -8 38
J. Huberdeau 60 9 27 4 36
J. Jokinen 62 6 28 0 34
A. Ekblad 63 10 23 8 33
B. Boyes 61 11 21 9 32
J. Jagr 59 12 19 -9 31
J. Hayes 54 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 63 3 20 3 23
A. Barkov 52 10 12 -4 22
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 5 6 2 .891 2.98
 
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