Forward Gregory Campbell
has brought a lot to the Bruins this season -- including a 7-11-18 line and six fighting majors —- but nothing has been more valuable to the Black & Gold than his energy.
|Campbell. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
“I’ve seen him play a lot...and I always thought he was a really good player, but to be honest with you, to me he’s an even better player than I had seen,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said after yesterday’s team practice in Los Angeles.
The Bruins center has picked up the emotional slack whenever the Bruins have been flat and continues to put stock in the “energy” nickname given to the B's grinding line.
Case in point: 2:57 of the first period on Saturday afternoon in Colorado against the Avalanche.
Less than a minute earlier Boston had allowed an early goal and the team seemed emotionally down until the 6’ 0” 197-pound Campbell picked a fight with Colorado tough guy Cody McLeod (7 fights this year, 18 last season).
After a solid bout (a draw according to HockeyFights.com), Campbell managed a take-down of the 6’ 2”, 210-pound Avalanche forward and clearly fired up the Bruins on their way to a 6-2 victory.
“I think when we’re at our best we have a lot of emotion, a lot of energy and sometimes that sparks the team,” Campbell said after yesterday’s practice.
“It’s not something I really had planned but...[it] kind of put it out there that we we’re ready to play, that we needed those two points.
"Sometimes things happen and you've got to roll with it.”
Thanks in large part to Campbell's work, the Bruins have been able to roll four solid lines all season, so Saturday wasn't the first time Campbell has sparked his team when they've lacked emotional firepower.
“I think you have to kind of establish that identity for yourself in this league and I think that’s part of mine that occasionally I might have to do that,” Campbell said of fighting. “You know, I've kind of found my niche and it was with energy, [and as a] player that kills penalties and plays both sides of the rink.”
Campbell has fared well in his bouts this season, but he doesn’t consider himself one of the leagues elite puglilists.
“I’m certainly not in the category of guys like [Shawn Thornton
] or some of the other guys on our team, but if I can help those guys out -- you know it’s a tough job to do, and for them to do that and to have to do that every night, you know there’s some other guys on the team that stand up for themselves and for one another,” Campbell said.
Beyond the brawling, Coach Julien has been impressed with the center's consistent effort.
“When you see him everyday and you see what he brings night after night you learn to appreciate him even more,” Julien said.---Hannah Becker