The Florida Panthers have a special defenseman in Brian Campbell.
There seem to be two kinds of players in the NHL. Guys that get hurt and guys that don’t. There’s a ton of filler in between—Shea Weber missing a game here and there, for instance—but the players that get the most attention are (as always) the guys on the fringes.
It’s why fans will remember Jay Bouwmeester 20 years from now and why no one in Toronto will ever care about how many goals Joffrey Lupul scores. It’s also what makes Campbell such a significant part of Florida’s blue line: the 35-year-old barely misses games.
When the Panthers took on the Carolina Hurricanes last night, it was Campbell’s 300th consecutive game played.
— Florida Panthers PR (@FlaPanthersPR) April 3, 2015
That’s a remarkable achievement given hockey’s quick and violent nature. This isn’t the first time Campbell has played through such a long stretch without missing any time though. In 2010, he had played in 377 consecutive contests until an Alexander Ovechkin hit broke Campbell’s clavicle and a rib.
Miami Herald scribe George Richards spoke with Campbell about his ability to stay healthy, and the blueliner had this to say:
I just try to take care of myself on and off the ice. I’ve been lucky in my career and have had other streaks. I think it takes a lot of preparation and sometimes you don’t feel so good. I’ve played through injuries. I think it’s a challenge and try and embrace it. I want to be out there every night. For me to take a night off, it’s going to have to hurt pretty good.
That kind of attitude and approach wouldn’t be lost on a locker room full of veterans, but the Panthers roster a number of young, talented players. Aaron Ekblad, Erik Gudbranson, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau; the list goes on, but they all get to watch how Campbell prepares and stays healthy.
For a team on the rise like Florida, that’s an invaluable resource.