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BOSTON (CBS) – They’re not going to build any statues to honor Gregory Campbell’s contributions to the Bruins, although Andy Warhol might’ve been interested if he was still alive.
Campbell’s game is hard to appreciate, like a piece of modern art, but he’s effective in almost any role he’s asked to play for Boston.
With the Bruins in desperate need of an offensive infusion, Campbell seemed like a less-than-likely center for the scoring winger duo of Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr. Anyone questioning the decision to put Campbell in such a position was silenced early in the Bruins’ 6-2 win Monday at TD Garden, as Campbell was mucking it up as Boston built a 4-0 lead in the game’s first 23:57.
Campbell finished with two assists and he was battling in front on Marchand’s second goal of the game that extended Boston’s lead to 3-0.
“He’s a very easy guy to play with,” Marchand said. “He’s meat-and-potatoes, a very straight-forward kind of guy. He’s very, very strong on the puck down low, once he gets it you can’t take it from him. You saw on the first goal that we got there, he dug it out and took it to the net. He’s a great player, he doesn’t make many mistakes and he can really click with any guy he plays with.”
Campbell etched himself into Bruins’ history by leading the fourth line and penalty kill during Boston’s run to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship. He’s been invaluable in those roles for three seasons since coming to the Bruins from Florida. This year’s team has needed more from everyone, especially at the offensive end, to succeed. Typical fourth-liner Daniel Paille has contributed seven goals.
Campbell now has seven assists. But part of the beauty of his ability to contribute is that he knows his limitations and knows how to stay out of the way and let his linemates operate.
“I can’t start being somebody that I’m not,” Campbell said. “That’s not going to complement them very well. And nothing’s set in stone. We have some injuries right now and it’s about players sometimes expanding their role but also staying within their strengths and doing the things that have gotten us here and to the level that we’re at. So I realize that there’s things that I do well and there’s things that other players are more gifted at. So playing with two extremely gifted, smart intelligent players, it’s about me complementing them and not trying to stray from what I’m good at and bring energy to our play.”
Without Patrice Bergeron the Bruins are in trouble and probably won’t last long in the playoffs. Campbell’s not a long-term answer in the top six. That doesn’t mean he can’t keep the spot warm until the eventual return (the Bruins hope) of the Selke Trophy winner to the lineup.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.