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BOSTON (CBS) – The quality of the Bruins’ top six or nine forwards will be questioned all offseason and then tested once the puck drops in the fall.
When it comes to their fourth line, however, the Bruins can’t be challenged. The trio of Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton flanking center Gregory Campbell is one of the best “energy lines” around. And the re-signing of Campbell Wednesday to a three-year deal makes sure that group will be crashing bodies, dropping gloves and, maybe, scoring some dirty goals on a regular basis in the 2012-13 season.
The fact that Campbell gave up the opportunity to pursue more cash on the open market is not a secret. What might be overlooked is that with his ability, he could have probably found a higher-paying job and a more expanded role elsewhere. Campbell obviously subscribes to the theory the grass isn’t always greener, and also carries his selflessness beyond the rink – where he puts his body on the line in the wake of fists and shots of all kinds – to his off-ice life.
“I’m fortunate to play with really good players,” said Campbell during a conference call to make his and Chris Kelly’s new deals official. “We have a group of guys that are all very talented with respect to what they do and what they bring to the game. Our fourth line, as it’s called in Boston, is not a fourth line on most other teams. So that has nothing to do with it. I’m very fortunate to play with good players.
“For me, being a role player, as I am probably considered in the league, it’s important to be a role player on a good team. Because I’ve experienced it before being a role player on a team that’s not too successful, and you kind of get lost in the mix, your role isn’t appreciated. … When you win and you have the opportunity to win and play with good players, that makes you a better player. And Boston has all those aspects and that makes me a better player.”
Where Stephane Yelle and Steve Begin failed before him, Campbell has succeeded in giving the Bruins a fourth-line center that can play all-out, every night and get the most out of Paille and Thornton on his wings. With 21 goals in his two seasons in black and gold, Campbell has shown he can be more than just a grinder.
General manager Peter Chiarelli referred to Campbell as a “glue guy” who “epitomizes the Bruins’ style of play.” Well then, there’s really no better place for him to play than with the Bruins. And as long as he’s with Boston and healthy, the Bruins won’t have to worry about what they’re going to get from their fourth line.