With all due respect to Andrew Shaw and his face, Gregory Campbell was the most famous shot-blocker of the 2013 NHL postseason.
While Boston puck fans knew about and very much appreciated Soupy’s hard work, hustle and dedication since he first arrived from Florida, the hockey world quickly learned how courageous and determined the B’s forward was in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Merlot Line center broke his ankle when he blocked Evgeni Malkin‘s shot during a penalty kill in Game 3 against the Penguins in the ECF on June 5. Campbell not only got back up to his feet but he stayed on the ice for almost an entire minute before heading into the locker room for the final time that postseason.
But he’s doing everything he can to bounce back from that injury in time for the opener and prove to the hockey world that the heroic minute wasn’t just a simple act of grandstanding.
“I know that it was a big story, especially back here in Canada, and I’m definitely appreciative of the support, and I guess the praise that I got,” he told Matt Kalman of NHL.com. “I wasn’t looking for that, obviously, but I guess I’m appreciative that people appreciated the play.
“I guess I’m a player that doesn’t get a lot of notoriety and I’ve never been looking for that,” he added. “But I’ve been looking for respect from teammates always, and other peers in the League that know that it takes really all kinds to win, all the types of players, and it really takes everybody doing everything they can to win in our League.”
Soupy was scheduled to bounce back after about 6-8 weeks, but it’s been just over 10 weeks since he went under the knife June 10. The gritty forward, who had 13 points in the regular season and seven in the postseason, actually felt the screws in his ankle last week when he’d lace up his boot, meaning he’s still not skating.
“I actually felt the screws because of where the incision was and where the plate is,” he told Kalman. ”So it’s underneath my skate there on the side. So when I tightened [the skate] up and I moved my ankle back and forth, I actually felt the screws, which surprised me because I didn’t think I would. But I was talking to people; I have to tweak the boot a little bit so there’s not much pressure on the area.”
In his next step toward his Oct. 3 goal (the Bruins’ opener against the Lightning), Campbell will have another X-ray on Tuesday, Aug. 20. If all goes well, he’ll be on his skates and preparing for Bruins camp, which is just weeks away. But even if Soupy does make it back to the Black and Gold by the opener, he’ll be skating with some lofty expectations, as No. 11 on the Bruins is now known as one of the toughest guys on two skates. Skating off the ice on a broken ankle is a pretty tough act to follow, but Soupy is already thinking about ways to outdo himself.
“I guess the only time — knock on wood, whatever — I won’t be able to not skate off is if I’m unconscious.”