NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 16: Gregory Campbell of the Boston Bruins stretches prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 16, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The Stanley Cup Playoffs bring out the best in hockey players. For those who get a chance to take part in the greatest spectacle in all of sports, it’s an opportunity to realize a childhood dream; the ability to hoist a 35-pound chalice over your head, give it a big kiss, then pass it off to a teammate. In order to win, players do whatever it takes to help their team even if it means sacrificing their own health and safety in order to do so. This was evident during Wednesday night’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In the second period of the contest, the Bruins received a penalty for having too many men on the ice. While Shawn Thornton was in the penalty box serving the bench minor, Bruins pivot Gregory Campbell did something that epitomized the word “selfless.”
As you can see in the video, Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin wound up to take a slapshot from the point. Campbell slid in front of Malkin and successfully blocked the shot being directed towards Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask. The play continues and Campbell has great difficulty getting back on his feet. It’s obvious he’s in great distress and you can see him use every ounce of heart and strength to finally get back up on two skates. Campbell can hardly skate, but uses his stick in order to try to block Pittsburgh’s passing and shooting lanes. He even gets his stick on a Letang pass that was intended for Malkin, but he didn’t have enough strength to knock it out of the zone. Campbell then crashes the net and acts as a body in order to try to stymie the Penguins' power play. It worked; Pittsburgh only generated one shot on the power play and Boston was able to kill the advantage.
All this because had he skated off the ice, it would’ve left his team down two men until he could get to the bench and Boston coach Claude Julien could send another skater on.
While nobody knew the extent of the injury at the time, the Bruins released a statement Thursday morning stating that Campbell had broken his right fibula on the play and would be out for the rest of the playoffs.
That play will serve as an example as to how dedicated hockey players are and how committed they are to the team and to winning the Stanley Cup. I, on the other hand, will never complain about injuring myself playing hockey again.