SUNRISE, FL - SEPTEMBER 19: Brian Campbell #51 of the Florida Panthers carries the puck up ice against the Nashville Predators on September 19, 2011 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Tuesday Tire Pump: Brian Campbell


Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.

This week’s tire pumpee: Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers

With seven assists in his first four games, Campbell is actually earning his fat contract. You know the contract. The one everyone in Chicago was happy to be rid of when the puck-moving defenseman was traded from the Blackhawks at the draft.

Of course, the Panthers have no cap crunch to speak of. Campbell could have a hit of $15 million and they’d still be under the limit.

In Florida’s 7-4 win over the Lighting Monday night, Campbell tallied four assists, each of them on the power play. (The Panthers scored five times with the man advantage. Maybe stop taking so many penalties, Tampa Bay.)

“It’s just one of those nights, I guess. Things are going good,” Campbell said. “That’s not going to happen too often, so you’ll take it when you get it.”

Campbell, 32, leads all Panthers in ice time, averaging 27:50 per game. Across the NHL, only Dan Girardi (29:31) and Ryan Suter (28:07) have played more per game than that.

Heading into tonight’s game in Washington, Florida (3-1-0) sits second in the Southeast division, two points behind the Capitals (4-0-0). A surprise to many, but not to Campbell. Prior to the start of the season, he told he had high hopes for the Panthers.

“I feel like we’re going to have success a lot quicker than people think,” he said. “For us, as long as we think that in the locker room and know that it’s playoffs or everything else is a failure and not acceptable, it’s a good place to start. I think that’s the mindset that we all need to have going into the season.”

Brian Campbell, everyone.

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer