Hockey really is one unique sport. Not only does it not follow the general [thing]-ball naming convention employed by many other sports, not only do its fans often subscribe to superstitions and rituals to an extent that’s probably unheard-of in other sports, but the people who play it are made of something else. That’s not to discount the extraordinary things that athletes in other sports do, of course, though that is (unfortunately) a tone some people are taking. That’s only to say that these guys are extraordinary too.
You know–the defenseman who plays so many minutes that his teammate jokes he goes home and plugs himself in to recharge instead of sleeping, a superhuman kind of guy. The goalie who has to be on top of his game all the time and has been, turning away more than 100 shots so far this series and still putting up a sub-2.00 goals-against average. Or the forward who’s felled by a hard shot of vulcanized rubber right to the fibula, who struggles to get back on his feet since one leg is now broken, but instead of running off to get medical attention right away, he stays on and completes an important penalty kill shift as if nothing is wrong.
That’s Gregory Campbell (pictured above, before the incident) of the Boston Bruins for you. He’s already a pretty tough customer–really, that’s kind of a prerequisite for playing in Boston, and you need only look at the stitched-up faces of two of Campbell’s fellow centers, Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly, for proof. The Bruins made speculation official following the team’s game three overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the seventh-longest game in team history, by announcing that he’s out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken right fibula.
The obvious question now is: who’s going to go in place of #11? There are a lot of different options, actually, ranging from Jay Pandolfo and Kaspars Daugavins to longer shots–who are still possibly in contention–like Carter Camper, who’s been brought up from Providence to be part of the black aces crew, or Jordan Caron, another P-Bruin who has also seen time with the big club. Providence players have managed to do some pretty big things so far in this playoffs season. Could another one do even more good things?
Daugavins was the first to take the ice in a crew of “select Bruins” skating today, which could mean he’s in contention, but all of the black aces (Camper, Chris Bourque, Caron and Niklas Svedberg) are there too.
Certainly Claude Julien and his crew have some work to do before game four tomorrow night. But here’s to Campbell, just doing his job, the best he could, giving the crowd something to cheer about and his teammates another reason to do their best.