Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell “took one for the team” in game 3 of NHL’s Eastern Conference Final. Campbell broke his leg when he blocked a shot from Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin in the second period of Wednesday night’s game. Campbell is out for the season. His injury was not in vain. The Bruins won the game 2-1 in double overtime and now lead the series 3-0. Only one win away from making the Stanley Cup Finals.
The game itself was an instant classic. Campbell though has forever inserted himself into Boston Bruins’ folklore. The Bruins were in the middle of a critical penalty kill. The game was tied at one. Campbell blocked the shot, and instantly felt excruciating pain. Instead of staying down on the ice, Campbell stood back up and toughed out the remainder of his shift. When the Bruins cleared the puck he limped to the bench, and was helped to the locker room. Bruins fans gave him a standing ovation, and began chanting his name.
Every shot block turned out to be crucial, as it remained 1-1 until Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner in the second overtime. Campbell’s teammates and coach showed their appreciation after the game. Bruins head coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe, “He’s a real dedicated individual to his work and to his game. What he did yesterday surprised a lot of people, but it didn’t surprise us.”
Bergeron said the team dedicated the win to Campbell. Bruins’ third-line center Chris Kelly said Campbell has always been one to do the dirty work. Kelly told the Boston Globe, “That’s a thankless job right there. Soup does that. He’s been doing that his whole career, and I think the fact he stayed up, finished his shift, and made it to the bench speaks volumes about how strong he is and willingness to battle.”
Campbell had also earned respect around the league. According to NHL.com, the New York Rangers’ Aaron Asham tweeted, “Wow. Campbell plays full minute on broken leg. Always respected him, even more now. #Warrior”
For once, an “unsung hero” gets the praise they deserve. No one likes to do the dirty work, but every team needs players to tackle the unpopular tasks. Now the search is on. Who on the Bruins will fill Campbell’s void on the penalty kill?