Horton and Campbell each played their entire careers with Florida until coming together to Boston this summer in a blockbuster deal that sent defenseman Dennis Wideman and a first-round pick to the Panthers. On Thursday, Florida comes to the Garden and Horton and Campbell will face their old club for the first time in a regular-season matchup.
"I'm excited," said Horton Thursday morning after the Bruins went through some off-ice workouts and video work. "I can't wait for tonight. I just want to come out, put on a good show and get the win. That would be nice."
Of course, Horton is always excited. His trademark ear-to-ear grin hasn't left his face since he arrived in Boston, and the thrill of escaping the hockey purgatory that is south Florida for a rabid market like Boston hasn't diminished over the course of his first few months here.
"I'm still as happy as ever," said Horton. "It's still an unbelievable feeling to be here. I don't think that feeling is ever going to go away."
Campbell is also happy with the move to Boston, but had slighter fonder memories of his time in Florida. That doesn't make him any less motivated to beat his old team though.
"It's exciting," said Campbell. "I spent a lot of time there, made some good friends. We both worked hard for that organization. Obviously, hockey's all about change and this has been a good change for both of us, but there's no question that both of us want to win pretty badly."
Horton admitted that he hasn't kept close tabs on his old team, which even in the short time since he and Campbell left has continued its tradition of constantly overhauling the roster.
"Not really. When I see them I'll say 'hi,' but other than that I think you kind of move on," said Horton of his ex-teammates. "You come to a different place, you've got your own thing going and that's kind of how it is.
"The faces have changed a lot," added Horton. "There's not that many guys that I played with for a while, but it's going to be a little different playing your old team. It's where I was my whole career. It's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it."
Campbell's bonds with many of the Panthers were a bit stronger.
"I've played with Stephen Weiss for 10 years, so obviously the friendship runs deeper than hockey," said Campbell, who played with Weiss in juniors with the OHL's Plymouth Whalers, in the minors with San Antonio of the AHL as well as in Florida. "There's some good people in that organization. I had a good time there. I've been in touch with a few of those guys, but the guys here too have been awesome with the change."
Campbell was glad that the Bruins and Panthers have already met twice this year, albeit in exhibition games in the preseason without full NHL lineups.
"I'm actually happy we did play them a couple times in preseason," said Campbell. "Just to kind of get the nerves out. But I think you have to treat it like any other game. At the end of the day it's the win that we're looking for. I can talk to the friends that I have there after the game, but during the game it's all about the two points."
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