In the NHL, there are players who are natural goal scorers and playmakers. A handful of those players are the “superstars” of the league. These are the individuals who are the faces of their respective franchises and often get credit for a win and blamed for a loss.
Then there are the players who do the dirty work. They work hard at practices and really grind it out during games. They will always do the little things right, a majority of them not ever showing up on a stat sheet.
Boston Bruins’ center Gregory Campbell is one of those players.
Campbell, who came over in a trade with Nathan Horton, played his first seven seasons with the Florida Panthers. He was brought in to assume the role of fourth-line center, a role that he had not been accustomed to before arriving in Boston. He was thought to be considered the “add-in” in the trade that also included Dennis Wideman and a couple of draft picks. His value was underestimated.
Campbell is one of the better penalty killers in the league who can also provide a scoring touch. He is the type of player who will stick up for himself and his teammates by bringing a physical presence. In 2010-11, Campbell and fellow linemate Shawn Thornton became the first Bruins’ teammates since Cam Neely and Nevin Markwart (1986-1987) to record double-digit goals and fights in one season. Campbell finished with 13 goals and 11 fighting majors.
He has posted a modest 6-7-13 scoring line so far this season. He is also among the team leaders in blocked shots. He will not only block a shot, but sacrifice his body in doing so. There is nothing about his game that is fancy or pretty. All he does is get the job done the most efficient way possible.
The type of style that Campbell plays sets the tone for the rest of the team. Once the Bruins score a goal, you will see Campbell’s line go out on to the ice for the ensuing shift in order to keep the energy in their favor.
Campbell is in the final year of his contract with the Bruins. He should have teams interested in him if he does hit free agency. The question then becomes how will he be utilized if he does go to another team? For now, the Bruins will need him down the stretch if they want to make another run for the Cup.