The scene during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals is one that will live in Bruins lore forever.
With the game tied 1-1 midway through the second period, Gregory Campbell went down to block a shot from Evgeni Malkin during a Penguins power play. Struggling to stand on his own two feet, Campbell showed true character and finished a lengthy shift before hobbling to the locker room area. Campbell has not seen the ice since and is out for the remainder of the postseason with a broken leg.
The 29-year-old forward spoke to the media for the first time since the injury. And he was quite reflective to say the least.
“It hurt a little bit, but your adrenaline is going,” Campbell said about his gritty shift. “I always felt that if you could get up, you should get up.”
In the 47 seconds from blocking the shot and limping to the locker room, Campbell wasn’t quite sure whether or not he broke his leg. But he was certainly feeling the pain from the hard shot from Malkin.
“I’ve gotten asked that a few times, did you know it was broken? I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that I knew it was broken, but I felt it was a different feeling,” Campbell recalled. “I blocked a few shots before, but this seemed different. Then once I was able to get back on my feet, I was not positive, but fairly sure something was wrong.”
It was more than finishing a shift that symbolizes Campbell’s effort.
Throughout his tenure, Campbell has prided himself of having a blue-collar work ethic. That is something that his teammates, and Bruins fans, can appreciate the most.
“Well I think he exemplifies what we’re all about. I’ve said it before, we take pride in being a blue-collar team,” head coach Claude Julien said. “There’s no doubt that we’re happy to see him. He came in yesterday for the first time since we came back. Not only were the guys happy to see him, but they made him feel very welcome by getting him shortly after he made his presence in the dressing room.”
“He’s a great guy and everyone likes seeing him,” said Shawn Thornton, Campbell’s fellow Merlot line compadre. “Obviously he wants to be out there, there’s no bigger competitor than him.”
To say that Campbell is missing being on the ice in the Stanley Cup Final would be an understatement.
Campbell, however, is certainly proud of how his teammates are doing while watching on the sideline.
“The emotional part of it, I mean, we’re in the Stanley Cup Final now,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember and I’ve watched every Stanley Cup Final there is.
“It’s obviously tough not to play. But having said that, I’m extremely proud of my teammates and fortunate enough to be here, fortunate to have been part of the run I was on. Now I’m cheering them pretty loudly.”
On June 10, Campbell had surgery to repair his broken leg. The recovery should take a soft 6-8 weeks. By then he’ll hope to be ready in time for training camp in September.
Either way, Campbell, despite some modifications to his off-season workouts, is looking forward to donning the Black and Gold again on the TD Garden ice.
“I’m fully expecting to be 100% at camp. Maybe I won’t be participating fully at camp; I can’t say that right now. But if you look at 6-8 weeks, it puts me in mid July to late July, early August,” Campbell said. “Obviously, my training program is going to change a little bit. That’s a big part of my game, but that’s just something that I have to deal with and I’ll have to work around.”