Gregory Campbell Lays it on the Line
BostonBruins.com - Gregory Campbell. Need we say more?
By now, you've watched the shift. You've seen him lay down his body in front of an Evgeni Malkin slap shot, helping keep his team's penalty kill perfect in the series with the game knotted at 1-1 with under eight minutes to go in the second period.
Before Patrice Bergeron could score 15:19 into double overtime to give the Bruins a 3-0 series lead, there was Campbell, the gritty, all-heart player that he is, hobbling for more than 45 seconds, with what has turned out to be a broken leg. Yes, that's right, a broken leg (right fibula).
He had his stick in hand, and tried to grab for his glove, pain writhing in his face. He got in the passing lane of Malkin, hobbled, grabbed his glove. Swatted at the puck, stayed in position.
Finally, the puck was cleared, and Campbell skated, on one leg, to the bench, where Shawn Thornton immediately patted him on the back, David Krejci reached over and made sure to get in a pat as well, as No.11 was helped down the tunnel.
The crowd gave him a standing ovation he would not see. "Camp-bell, Camp-bell, Camp-bell" was the swift chant that rained down.
"That’s a thankless job right there. Soup does that. He’s been doing it his whole career, and I think the fact that he stayed up, finished his shift, and made it to the bench speaks volumes about how strong he is and willingness to battle," said fellow center Chris Kelly following the Bruins' 2-1 double overtime win that reached into the wee hours of Thursday morning.
"There’s a guy that’s willing to do whatever needs to be done to help the team. We appreciate Soup and his willingness to do things like that."
"That block, that was Soupy," said Bergeron, the overtime hero that always praises the little details. Though, this one made a big statement.
"We're talking about details, we're talking about little things that go a long way…That's the way he is. He sacrifices the body always for the team, for the better of the team."
"Obviously we tried to rally behind that and do it for him because he's a big part of our team on and off the ice."
Campbell is all heart, and all grit, game in and game out, and it's been well documented on this site. He also has skill and determination, and no one knows him better than his fellow Merlot Liners.
"He's been like that for probably his whole career, but the whole time he's been here for sure, he definitely sacrifices his body in a lot of ways to help the team win, so he'll be missed," said Shawn Thornton.
In doing so, Campbell made himself the poster boy for playoff hockey.
"It is [playoff hockey], but that's not even playoff hockey for him," said Thornton. "That's the way he plays day in and day out, whether it's blocking a shot or the other side during the season, he's stepped up and fought a lot of guys a lot bigger than him to try and change momentum."
"It doesn't matter what it is - he's been the ultimate teammate since he's been here."
For the Bruins, they know just how important that game was to win it for 'Soupy.'
"You can definitely - I wouldn't say rally - but we talked about it, we don't want that to go to waste," added Thornton. "To lay down in front of a slapper like that and obviously you saw him play on a broken leg for 45 seconds. You want to play well for him after that, that's for sure."
No one knows Campbell better than his longtime linemate, but no one understands having to power through a shift after a shot block quite like Johnny Boychuk.
"You just want to do whatever it takes to get it out. It's no fun being injured. You want to make sure you do the job," said Boychuk.
"It's obviously not fun to be out there for that long and to have a broken bone."
"For one thing, the ref is not going to blow the whistle because you don’t have the puck. Two, you’re not doing anyone any good if you’re just laying on the ice, especially in playoffs. I mean even though you’re hurt, just to get up and do something and at least try to do something, it’s one of those situations where you know you’re hurt and you want to just get it out or block another shot just to do whatever it takes to win."
Coach Julien had plenty of praise for Campbell after the game - though, he always get praised for that kind of effort; this level just showcases his toughness to everyone else who's never watched him.
"For what he went through, he showed a lot of guts to stay out there and to still try and play," said Julien. "Obviously it was a pretty serious injury, so that's just the kind of player he is, and it doesn't surprise me, it doesn't surprise his teammates, but certainly it shows the character of that player, and that's why we appreciate having him on our team."
"Obviously, some guys get a lot of credit for the big goals and some of the fancy plays," said defenseman Andrew Ference, who saw a smiling Campbell waiting for the team in the locker room after the win.
"I’m sure everybody in this locker room and I’m sure most people will see a play like that and know how much respect that garners from people."
Captain Zdeno Chara logged a hefty 42-plus minutes of ice time, but even he knew that what Campbell did was far beyond anything else on the ice that night.
"He’s a man that he does whatever the team needs, and he’s willing to sacrifice his body, and for sure it was an outstanding block by him and you saw that the rest of the time he spent on that kill he was willing to do whatever he could on that one leg, so this one is for sure for him."
The tough part now will be filling the hole that Campbell leaves - though, the Bruins have plenty of options, including Kaspars Daugavins and Jay Pandolfo, and Coach Julien will make the decision on Friday prior to Game Four.
It will be heartbreakingly difficult for Campbell to sit back now and watch, not being able to help his teammates.
"It's tough, it's really tough to say anything to a player who's put so much into the game and commitment and everything else and what he means to our team," Coach said, on talking to Campbell late Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
"To me, he's been as fierce as he could be, despite what's happened to him, and he's one of those guys that really wants our team to do well, and he's certainly not going to let guys down by feeling sorry for himself."
"I've loved his demeanor so far…You wish he could be there, but at the same time, I think he overlooks that to know what's best for him and his team."
"I'm not sure if I've ever played with anyone that spends that much time at the rink. He loves it, he grew up with it," said Thornton. "I'm sure he's a little down in the dumps but he'll be positive when he's around the guys and help out anyway he can off the ice I'm sure."
"He's still part of this team, whether he's on the ice or not."