BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell spoke to the media on Tuesday for the first time since breaking his leg nearly two weeks ago.
In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Campbell and the Bruins were in the middle of killing a penalty when he blocked a shot by Evgeni Malkin with his right leg. He fell to the ice, but despite being in clear pain, Campbell remained out there for nearly a minute — helping Boston kill off the penalty.
After the game it was revealed that the pain he felt was a broken leg. Campbell said Tuesday he knew something was wrong, but not the severity of the injury.
“It hurt a little bit,” he said, living up to the “warrior” title his teammates are giving him. “But your adrenaline’s going pretty good at that point. You’re stuck on the ice with a couple of the best players in the world, you really don’t have much time to think about anything else but trying to help out and kill a penalty.”
“I’ve got asked that a few times: did you know it was broken? You know, I can’t say with 100-percent certainty that I knew it was broken, but I felt like it was a different feeling. I blocked a few shots before — this just seemed different,” he said. “Once I was able to get back to my feet, I was not positive but fairly sure that there was something wrong. I don’t have x‑ray vision, so I didn’t know at the time that it was broken for sure. Like I said, it was a different feeling.”
Campbell underwent surgery last Monday, and says he will have six to eight weeks before he is back on his feet. He expects to be ready to go when training camp rolls around next season.
“I feel good. Obviously, naturally, you have that progression where there’s a little bit of pain coming out of surgery,” said Campbell, his crutches joining him at the podium. “But everybody did a great job, treated me extremely well. The pain subsided very quickly. There’s not much I can do at this point. Just kind of let it heal.”
While he heals, he’ll be cheering on his teammates. He was unable to join the Bruins for the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final in Chicago because of his surgery, but will be with them the rest of the way.
Not playing is certainly tough, but he is getting used to cheering his team on.
“The emotional part of it, I mean, we’re in the Stanley Cup Final now. I’ve been a fan of the game for as long as I can remember and I’ve watched probably every Stanley Cup Final there is. It’s obviously tough not to play,” he said. “But having said that, I’m extremely proud of my teammates and fortunate to be here, fortunate to have been part of the run that I was on. Now, I’m cheering them on pretty loudly.”
Campbell visited with the team Monday prior to their 2-0, Game 3 win over the Blackhawks. Along with his crutches, he was wearing white jeans, and his teammates quickly let him hear about it. But with that, it was as if he had never left.
“That’s how we are,” said Brad Marchand. “It shows how close we are and how much fun we’re having. He knows he’s going to get it when he comes in here, and he’s going to give it right back.”
“He keeps himself well-groomed,” said Milan Lucic. “He’s not afraid to step outside the box when it comes to his style as well. You know it’s pretty funny, ever since he’s come here, the style on the team has gotten a lot better as well.”
But of course, that ribbing came after loads of praise for their healing teammate.
“The way he battles for our team and the way he sacrifices, it’s more than we could ever ask for. He’s a warrior and we’re very lucky to have him,” said Marchand. “We wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t on our team.”
“It puts a smile on all of our faces when we see him around the dressing room and stuff like that,” said Lucic. “We do our best to try to keep him involved and try to keep him a part of it. He’s, as tough as it is to watch if you ask him, I know he’s having a lot of fun watching the last couple games.”
“I think he exemplifies a lot of what we’re all about,” head coach Claude Julien said of Campbell. “I’ve said it before, we take pride in being a blue‑collar team. We don’t care about calling certain guys superstars on our team. We all want to be on the same level. There’s no doubt there’s great players on our hockey club, but we make sure that the role players are just as important as the guys that are more visible to the media and to our fans as far as being the limelight of our hockey club.”
As for the play itself, Campbell said he’s seen it a few times while watching the games, and says all the support he’s received is humbling.
“The way I look at it, it might sound naïve of me, but I was just trying to do whatever I could to kill the penalty, to help out. At that point I really wasn’t thinking much,” he said of the play.
“There are a lot of players right now that are playing not 100-percent, and there’s a lot of guys that play through pain. I don’t see myself any different than anybody else in this league,” he continued. “There’s a lot of tough guys in this league; a lot of players are willing to do whatever they can to win. At this point you see that more often, guys doing whatever they can to win.”
“I’m no different than anyone else on these two teams in the playoffs. I was just trying to finish the play and do my job.”
Tune in to every game of the Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of The Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage begins one hour prior to every game, with full postgame reaction and analysis following each game.