During the month of August, I wanted to spend a little time to focus on the Bruins themselves. The members of the Black-n-Gold that make us members of Bruins Nation cheer with reckless abandon (and occasionally groan) Makes sense to me that we start with the lowest number and work our way down.
#11 Gregory Campbell. Gregory Campbell was acquired along with Nathan Horton as part of the package deal with the Florida Panthers for Dennis Wideman back in 2010. Campbell, known to teammates and fans as ‘Soupy’ (shares the surname with the soup.) , is a hockey legacy. He is the latest in a series of father-son combinations to grace the Stanley Cup. His father was an assistant coach for the New York Rangers in their 1994 Stanley Cup win.
The London, Ontario native was selected in the third round (67th overall), by the Florida Panthers in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Campbell spent his first few years with the Panthers AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. He played his first NHL game on October 18, 2003 in a game verses the New York Islanders. He earned a permanent slot on the line with the Panthers in the ’06-’07 season. He was a consistent player for the Panthers, being the team leader in hits and penalty minutes his last two years in Florida. (’08-’09 76 PIM, 202 hits. ’09-’10 53PIM 158 hits)
Campbell joined the team just in time for the magical 2010-2011 season. For those of you living under a rock that year, the Boston Bruins were the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions. That year Soupy racked up 13 goals (including a power play, a short handed, and a game winning goal), and sixteen assists. He had a ‘personal best’ ninety three minutes in penalties, and a +/- of +11.
Campbell centers the Merlot Line. Campbell along with wingers Shawn Thornton, and Daniel Paille are very likely the most popular fourth line in all of the NHL. Campbell led the line in scoring last season with eight points and eight assists. He had a season +/- of -3. He also racked up eighty minutes in penalties. Last season made it clear that the Merlot men were not afraid to throw down. I had the pleasure of watching Campbell have a go at the TD Garden. A lot of the Nation will argue that Thornton or Milan Lucic are the best fighters on the team. Campbell fights with as much passion and ferocity as any Bruin on the squad.
In early June, Campbell and fellow forward Chris Kelly made it clear they would rather continue playing for the B’s than go shopping on the trade market. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli described the pair as “glue guys,” and explained how their retention was a no-brainer. ” It’s a consistent push to get those types of players that obviously can play and that are responsible players, but that have that character and that drive,” he said. “To make little sacrifices in the way that they play and where they play and to check your ego – that’s not a magical formula.” Got to love it when your boss loves your work ethic.
Barring a CBA nightmare work stoppage, I think we can all look forward to some ‘soup and smackers’ coming down the blue line next season.