BOSTON (Reuters) - Gregory Campbell will never be the face of the Boston Bruins but he does represent the heart and soul of a team that prides itself on a blue collar work ethic and all-for-one philosophy.
Campbell will not play a single minute against the Chicago Blackhawks in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final but the fourth-liner’s contributions cannot be overlooked.
The hard-nosed Canadian’s playoffs came to a painful end in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals when he broke his leg while blocking a slap shot.
But a determined Campbell, in obvious distress, picked himself up off the ice and finished his shift before collapsing onto the bench.
Campbell’s heroic effort has become one of the post-season’s defining moments for the Bruins, who have drawn inspiration from their teammate.
It has also come to symbolize the Bruins’ place in the city, reflecting Boston’s resiliency following the Boston Marathon bombings in April.
“I‘m not going to put myself in front of anybody else and say I‘m the picture of the Bruins,” said Campbell, who returned to Boston’s TD Garden on Tuesday to be with his team and meet with the media.
”This Original Six organization, goes back a long way, it kind of represents the city, a blue-collar, hard-working city with honest people.
“When I got traded to Boston, I thought it was tailor-made to my game the way this team exemplifies the heart and soul of what a hockey player should be made of.”
Campbell downplayed his fearless display as simply doing his job and what any other member of the Bruins would have done in a similar situation.
But the image of Campbell grimacing in pain as he pushed himself around the ice on one leg has already become part of Boston sporting folklore.
“There’s 18 other guys in that room that would do the same thing, and that’s what makes us successful, and makes us a hard team to play against,” said Campbell.
“There’s 700, 800 other players that are tough like that and play through things every day.”
Having undergone surgery shortly after breaking his leg, Campbell made his first appearance of the Finals in the Boston dressing room and was warmly welcomed back by his teammates with some familiar good-natured ribbing.
The Bruins shut out the Blackhawks 2-0 on Monday and lead series 2-1 with Game Four set for Wednesday in Boston.
“I think he exemplifies a lot of what we’re all about,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “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.
“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.”
Editing by Frank Pingue