– In Gregory Campbell
’s six seasons with the Florida Panthers, his team never qualified for the playoffs. So when he joined the Boston Bruins last season and won a Stanley Cup championship – it was certainly a breathe of fresh air.
“We learned last year how fun it is to win,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, I’ve been through a lot of losing seasons in my career and coming to Boston was fun for me because we were winning and I was able to be part of a winning organization.
“That’s what the people here expect and as players that’s what we expect as well.”
But right now, the Boston Bruins aren’t meeting anyone's expectations.
The Black & Gold are 4-5 since the All-Star break, and they haven’t won back-to-back games in over a month.
“The single reason we play this game is to win and to have fun doing it,” Campbell said. “When you’re not winning, it’s not fun and you don’t see smiles on people’s faces.
"We have a great bunch of guys on this team and everybody respects one another – everybody enjoys being with one another, but it’s a lot more enjoyable at the end of the day when we’ve picked up two points.
“Nobody wants to have meetings and be beating each other up during practices, but I think the harder we compete, the more successful we’ll be and the happier we’ll be,” he said.
After losing to the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 last night, Campbell and the Bruins hit the ice hard today in Minnesota for practice, which lasted for a solid hour.
The tough practice, which featured a lot of battle drills, was geared towards sparking some determination from the Bruins – something that seems to have eluded the team over the past month and a half.
“I think when you use the word determination, it’s about us not hanging our heads, feeling sorry for ourselves and that this game owes us anything,” Campbell said. “The past is the past, and we have to perform in the present, which we’re not doing right now.
"There’s a lot more to be given here. When you have a high intensity, hard practice it leaves you feeling good about yourself and ready to take the next step forward.”
It’s rather unusual to see the Bruins, who have built themselves on toughness and physicality, lack the work ethic and energy that was commonly displayed in the first half of the season.
So with a day in between yesterday’s loss and Sunday’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild, the Bruins used the day to try and rekindle the fire that saw the club through last spring's Stanley Cup Final.
“Often in the past I think we had a high tempo, high intensity practice and come out with a solid effort the next game,” Campbell said. “That was our goal today.
"We’re a team that’s built on hard work, and the success that we’ve gotten in the past and recent times is because we worked hard and deserved the better result. I think that’s something we have to resort back to and look ourselves in the mirror and stay positive.”--- Anthony Gulizia