BostonBruins.com --Gregory Campbell and his teammates lifted hockey’s ultimate trophy at the end of last season. For the forward, that defines what it means to have a “career season.”
“Absolutely, it’s got to be a career year, what better can I do?” Campbell said. “The Stanley Cup is what you want. You can win any sort of individual awards you want, but at the end of the day, the major achievement is winning the Stanley Cup.
“I don’t think I can do any better than that. Matching it would be winning it again.”
But fans needn’t worry about “Soupy” becoming a complacent champion. Like all of the other members of the Black & Gold, despite an unusually short offseason, Campbell is chomping at the bit to return to play.
Foremost in his mind, as Campbell prepares to again take the ice, is the welcome he received in Boston. He joined the Bruins in the same trade that added Nathan Horton to the roster, and Campbell soon formed a scrappy fourth line with Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton.
The camaraderie paid off: he tied his career season-high in regular season goals, netting 13, and made key plays in his first-ever trip to the playoffs. It’s an impressive record of play he plans to bring to the ice again in the upcoming season.
“I was welcomed into that city from day one with the trade, by that team and organization, so I just wanted to, in return, play my hardest every game,” Campbell said. “The expectation I have for myself as a player is to do the same and every night to give my best.
“I want to do that for myself and for the city and the team and play hard, and I felt like I was able to fill a role this year with the team.”
Unlike the beginning of last year’s season, the roster heading into this year will be familiar to Campbell as the B’s return most of their Cup-winning team. The ability to maintain an almost-intact championship roster is rare, and its importance is not lost on Campbell nor on his teammates.
“For us to have a team that is primarily going to be the same team next year, first of all, gives us a lot of confidence,” Campbell said. “We're going to, no question, miss the guys that are moving on, and those guys will always be a part of our family, so to speak.
“But to have the remaining guys from our core team, I think if you look at the Chicago team last year and the blow they took having to pretty much split up half their team, I think more than anything on the ice it's the bond and the chemistry that you create off the ice with these guys.”
It’s a camaraderie spoken of by all members of the Bruins roster, and it’s hard to overstate just how crucial the bond between the players was in their quest for the Cup. And as the B’s prepare for the upcoming season, despite getting less time off than usual, Campbell knows that same bond will make everyone excited to return to play.
“I know that it's nice to step away and do your own thing for the summer,” Campbell said, “but I know going back into camp that everybody's going to be excited to see one another.
“One of the major reasons why we won is that everybody was so close on that team and wanted to play for each other, so going forward, already having that bond and that chemistry in place does a lot for a team.”