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Bruins' Campbell on ice for first time since broken leg

by Matt Kalman /

BOSTON -- A few weeks of skating on his own and a couple days participating in informal skates with his teammates couldn't tell Gregory Campbell if he was ready to go all-out in Boston Bruins training camp.

He had to just do it, and Thursday at TD Garden the veteran center was on his usual line with wings Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton during the team's second on-ice session of the afternoon.

Coach Claude Julien said the trio that's been a staple of the Bruins' lineup for three seasons looked solid as usual, but Campbell was a tougher critic as far as his own performance. It was the first time he took part in a formal NHL practice since he broke his leg in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final last season.

"I don't feel as quick as I feel like I should be right now," said Campbell, who had surgery in June and still has a plate with screws in his left foot. "But that will come. ... I don't think I was out of place, so that's a good sign. And I'll just continue to build.

"I think it's just a matter of getting comfortable," he continued. "Every day I feel more comfortable in the skate and trust myself to do the things that I want to do and to be at the speed that I want to be at. So I don't think it's that I had a late start. I've worked hard to catch up and I'm not that far behind. I think it's just I have high standards and it was the first day of camp, so considering that I felt pretty good."

Julien wasn't too concerned about any rust on Campbell's game. The coach knows that at this time of the year, it's important to take things slow so that Campbell can be 100 percent ready and healthy for the opening of the regular season.

"I think he looked good," Julien said. "You know, he's skating well. I don't think that's the issue right now with him as far as his skating and all that stuff. It's more about obviously the contact part of it, you've got to make sure it's healed well enough that it doesn't fracture itself again. So the skating, and there was a little bit of bumping and that, it's at that stage where it's so close, but training camp is where you're able to be a little bit more cautious because it is that. Our regular season doesn't start for almost a month, so it gives him time to recover properly and give our doctors a better feeling of saying, 'You know what, we feel confident that he can play now.'"

Campbell said he took minimal contact during some of the drills.

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