Retire? Not just yet, says Chicago Blackhawks' Campbell

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comChicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell has been more than happy with his return to the team this season.

    Joe Lewnard/jlewnard@dailyherald.comChicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell has been more than happy with his return to the team this season.

 
 
Updated 12/28/2016 7:31 PM

A month ago, Brian Campbell was asked why he chose to return to the Chicago Blackhawks when he could have made millions more by re-signing with the Florida Panthers.

Taken a bit off-guard, the veteran defenseman came back with a simple answer: "I'm happy. What's the price tag on that?"

 

Amen.

When last season ended Campbell had just finished an eight-year contract that paid him almost $57 million. That kind of money gives anybody the flexibility to choose where they want to play next, and when the Hawks came calling last off-season, Campbell didn't hesitate to return on a one-year deal that will pay him $2.25 million.

He likely could have re-signed in Florida for close to $5 million, but he returned to Chicago to join a Stanley Cup contender and because his wife grew up in the Western suburbs.

"I'm still compensated very well I feel like from Chicago," said Campbell, who is a father of two young girls. "It's just a nice feeling every day I wake up. I go to work, but it's a nice feeling knowing that we're all happy as a family. I think those things outweigh it a little more."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "We were fortunate that he chose to come back with us. We have a lot of versatility with him being in our defense group. … Felt we were a little light in that area last year."

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On Tuesday, I spoke with Campbell to get his thoughts on the possibility of returning next year, as well as trying to gauge his thoughts on when it would be time to call it a career.

Q: What are you thinking about for next year?

A: I don't want to go anywhere else. I'm going to decide at the end of the season what I'm going to do, as in whether I play or not. I'll sit down with the wife and figure it out, see what we want to do and see what our options are from there. … As of right now, I feel good and I feel like I'm playing good and feel like I can still contribute. … But there's no rush to make any sort of decision.

Q: How will you decide when to hang 'em up?

A: A lot of it is the training aspect. If you want to train and go through the grind of it all. If you can go through an 82-game season. I don't know. I'm sure there's lots of things that go into it -- family, where you're playing, if you're comfortable where you're playing.

Q: What about the money aspect? At this point does it just boil down to playing where you're happy?

A: For me it does. As I've said before, I don't think I would have done this if I was in my 20s or even early 30s. But money obviously plays a part in everything because you've got to want to get up and do your job every day and do it to the highest of your ability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

I've always said if it was for a lot less (than $2.25 million), I don't think I would have made the sacrifice to come back here. … That's where the money aspect comes in. You've got to get up and want to do it for what you're being paid.

Q: So you're not going to come back for a ridiculously low number?

A: Yeah, you're putting your body through the grind again, and all that adds up over the years.

Q: I just can't see you going to another team.

A: No. As I said, I don't want to go anywhere else. One hundred percent. … I even mentioned to (general manager) Stan (Bowman) last summer -- it would be a case of I'd like to come back here and I don't see myself going anywhere (else). If I can keep playing and you still want me here, then I don't plan on going anywhere else.

They're well aware of it. We're all well aware of it. There's no surprises from our side or their side.

Q: It's nice to have that relationship with Stan for so many years isn't it?

A: Yeah. Stan's pretty honest. His word is there and it's reliable. It's kind of a nice thing in the game of hockey.

Q: Have you found that to be the case everywhere?

A: No, I don't think it's like that all over the place. He made it an open book to me. I felt comfortable in that and I trusted him, and how he explained everything to me. I don't think you get that everywhere. Not at all.

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