|Brian Campbell had a fantastic 2011-12 season. From his first year with the Panthers to a Lady Byng Trophy to getting married. He's excited about even more in the future (Getty Images)
During the off-season a lot of players like to take it easy and try and stay stress free rather than make things hectic. In a sense, Panthers blueliner Brian Campbell has done a little bit of both so far this summer.
In late June, Brian Campbell married his fiancée Lauren Miller and the couple went on a honeymoon to Hawaii that lasted nearly two weeks. Of course he took in some of the experience with a fellow Panthers defenseman.
“We were there for 12 days,” Campbell recalled. “We went to Maui and the big island, touring around there. It was cool, it was really nice,” said Campbell. “[We] were able to go for dinner with Mr. Jovanovski because he was there at the same time. It was a good time.”
Campbell enjoyed his time in the “aloha state,” but he said that leading up to the wedding things were crazy as you would expect.
“Getting married is a great thing, but obviously leading up to it is kind of hectic with people coming into town and everything like that, but all in all it was great,” Campbell admitted. “I’m sure everybody goes through stressful times when they’re getting married, trying to get the planning down and everything like that, but it all worked out and ended up being perfect.”
Individually for Campbell, the season nearly went as perfect. The defenseman had one of his best seasons in the NHL, tallying 53 points (four goals, 49 assists) in 82 games. His 49 assists tied a franchise record for assists by a defenseman and his 53 points was tied for second among all defensemen in the NHL. He topped off the 2011-12 campaign with the Lady Byng Trophy, given to the player that “exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” A rare award for a defenseman.
Perhaps Campbell did so well because he was having fun.
“It was an exciting year, being my first year as a Panther. The best thing about it was it was so much fun playing there and the coaching staff was great,” he explained. “I think everybody wanted to get to the rink and be there.
“When things are going good obviously everybody has fun, but you know when [we would] lose a couple in a row, there was still positive thinking on what we can do to improve our club, so I loved being there and being a part of the organization.”
Campbell remembers back when he was with the Chicago Blackhawks while GM Dale Tallon was still at the helm. He said that now Tallon is at the practices a lot more than in Chicago since with the Blackhawks, practices were held downtown.
“Last year it was nice seeing Dale at the rink,” the defenseman said. “He was there quite often and he was extremely positive the whole year. He’s got a lot of pride because this is what he’s building and the guys he brings in, he brings in for a reason and he believes in them.”
Being the humble guy that he is, Campbell is looking forward to next season because he is excited about what the team can do, not so much the numbers he will put up.
“I’m really excited and geared to what we can do as a team, last year nobody gave us a chance and we proved a lot of people wrong,” he said. “I’m excited for this year; I think there is a legitimate shot at doing some great things in the regular season and building on what we did in the playoffs last year. It’s going to be a fun year.”