The Bruins know that Gregory Campbell is one of the toughest hockey players in the league. The rest of the sports world learned that as well Wednesday night.
Campbell’s stock on the Boston sports scene has skyrocketed since Wednesday night, and his blocked shot in the Bruins’ win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals has become a pivotal moment in Boston’s latest push for the Stanley Cup. Campbell’s sacrifice — which cost him his season — was still being talked about Thursday, one day after the double-overtime thriller.
One of the people talking about Campbell’s gutsy play was his head coach, Claude Julien, who unsurprisingly raved about his forward’s determination.
“You get that from him every game,” Julien told reporters after a limited Bruins practice Thursday at TD Garden. ”That’s the kind of player he is. He’s a real dedicated individual to his work and to his game, from off ice, to on ice, to taking care of himself, demeanor, everything else.
“What he did yesterday surprised a lot of people but it didn’t surprise us because that’s just who he is, stay in there and make sure he finishes his shifts. As a coach you probably wish he would have stayed down, but that’s not his job.”
The Bruins will now have to move on without Campbell after a broken right fibula ended his postseason. While Campbell won’t be joining his teammates on the ice, his sacrifice won’t be soon forgotten.
“I think our team wants to do it for all the right reasons, and that’s one of them,” Julien said when asked if the Bruins will try to win it for Campbell. “When you see a guy go down like that and the way he went down and what he did — what he’s done for the team and what he did last night to block that shot, the guys are going to want to rally around that. But it’s also got to be more than that, but he’s certainly part of that equation.”