Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/18/13
Almost two months since Gregory Campbell last wore his skates his curiosity was irritating him more than if a prankster had sprinkled itching powder in his hockey pants. What would it feel like to slip his skate on over his surgically repaired still-recovering right foot? "I actually felt the screws because of where the incision was and where the plate is" the Boston Bruins center told NHL.com this week during a phone conversation from his home in Kitchener Ontario. "So it's underneath my skate there on the side. So when I tightened it 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." That day a couple of weeks ago Campbell was scheduled for an important X-ray to see if he could resume skating and running for the first time since his right fibula was broken by an Evgeni Malkin slap shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The result was a mixed response. The X-ray showed things looking good but the bone wasn't healed enough for Campbell to start skating. The 29-year-old is scheduled for another X-ray in Boston on Aug. 20 when there's a chance he will get his clearance. He's hoping to be ready to go full-bore at training camp in September but won't be able to gauge his readiness until he's had the chance to skate. Campbell was injured June 5 and after surgery June 10 the prognosis was 6-8 weeks of recovery so he's a bit behind. Getting comfortable playing with a plate and screws in his foot and either modifying his current skate or working with the training staff and skate company to build a new boot will be part of a list of challenges for Campbell in his effort to be ready for the regular season which opens for the Bruins on Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. You know Campbell can battle through anything to accomplish his goals. For close to a minute after he slid to block Malkin's shot during a penalty kill in Game 3 of the conference final and returned to his feet in obvious pain Campbell managed to stay upright on the broken leg and help the Bruins extinguish the Penguins' man-advantage before he skated off. The Bruins went on to win that game then completed a sweep to earn a second trip to the Stanley Cup Final in three years. Campbell had surgery five days later and was unable to aid the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. Although he didn't win another championship Campbell became a synonym for toughness and determination. The enormity of his act reverberated across sports and affected people in all walks of life. Despite the acclaim Campbell has received in the months since the play he said life hasn't changed all that much. There isn't a line down his block of companies looking to sign him to endorsement deals as the model of hockey toughness but the humble fourth-liner and penalty-killer is OK with that. Although he typically shuns the spotlight he doesn't mind the admiration at least in terms of how he was able to back up the talk about doing anything to win. "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 said. "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. 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. So I guess just the realization that I want to do whatever I can for my team at any point is good. Because like I said I'm a player just a simple player that doesn't really make any highlight reels ever. So I guess it was nice in that sense." Campbell always sets a high standard for himself but now he might have a difficult time living up to some of his expectations. "I guess the only time -- knock on wood whatever -- I won't be able to not skate off is if I'm unconscious" he said with a chuckle.
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