BOSTON (CBS) – This is how difficult it is for a player of Gregory Campbell’s ilk to earn credit for his actions.
On the first-period play in Columbus December 10 that resulted in a fracture in Campbell’s foot, the veteran center wasn’t even credited with a blocked shot.
Campbell is too humble to complain about a statistical oversight or to brag about the fact that he’s now played two games through that painful injury after missing three contests (he played a regular shift the rest of that night against the Blue Jackets).
The medical staff has told him it takes a month to heal, even if he’s playing on it, and that another blocked shot to the wrong spot could sideline him again. So Campbell not only went out and scored a goal in the 8-0 rout of Florida Friday, he also recorded two more blocked shots.
“I’ve kind of been taking a few things just to take the edge off. That’s what we do,” explained Campbell, who didn’t take a shift off in the Panthers game despite the lopsided score. “That’s what we’re expected to do, just to play and through injuries and little nagging things. I’m no different than anybody else on this team. I want to be a part of this.”
Campbell’s doing more than just playing through injury. In the two days of practice leading up to last Friday’s game with the Panthers, he was by far the last player off the ice – including one day when he didn’t enter the dressing room with rookies Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron until a half hour had passed from the time the last veteran hit the locker room.
In game action, Campbell might have been rusty in his return Monday against Montreal, but he was his old self against the Panthers. He scored a rush from the red line to the high slot that he capped with a wrist shot to the high glove side. He recorded those two blocked shots and won five of seven faceoffs.
“He’s playing through pain, I think that’s what you have to give him credit for,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “He’s playing through probably a little bit of pain that’s still there, but he’s sucking it up and the one thing that’s great with Soupy is he doesn’t change his style. He goes out and plays the same way night in, night out, no matter what the situation is. He doesn’t know any other way and I think that makes him the player he is.”
Calling Campbell a fourth-line center is something of an insult for a guy who registered 13 goals last season. But that moniker is more about his grit level in relation to his skill, as well as Boston’s depth, than any typecasting being done. Campbell recorded 11 fights last season and has dropped the gloves three times already this year. He puts his limbs on the line against high-velocity pucks and big-fisted punks. And he sets a standard for pain tolerance his teammates can take to heart, especially if the injury bug begins to bite the Eastern Conference-leading Bruins.
“I’ve always just tried to get myself back as soon as possible. I pride myself on being in good shape and just take care of myself off the ice,” said Campbell, who admitted he would not skate over the Bruins’ three-day Christmas break that’s scheduled to end with a practice Tuesday in Phoenix. “I usually take the time off that’s recommended by the training staff, whatever injury it is, and as soon as I can come back that’s what I like to do.”