Its been a long wait, but Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell finally returned to the ice for live game action. It was the first time he’s played since suffering a broken leg in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Taking an Evgeni Malkin slap shot off the leg, Campbell broke his fibula and hobbled on the ice for almost a minute to help kill a penalty before limping off the ice and into Bruins playoff lore. The break required extensive surgery and rehab, and at one point it looked as though he was behind in the recovery process. However, his recovery had improved enough to take the ice last night in a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Though the Bruins suffered a lopsided defeat, losing 8-2 to Detroit, Campbell told ESPN Boston he felt good after his first game back.
“You’d like to be on the winning side of things, of course, as far as my body goes, I felt pretty good,” Campbell said. “I was far from perfect but there’s a foundation there to build on and I didn’t necessarily feel out of place. It’s been a long couple of months and I’m just grateful to be back on the ice.”
He received quite an ovation from the Boston faithful when he took the ice, however Campbell is more than focused on moving past his injury.
“It’s time to turn the page. Last season’s over and the injury is over. I have to help this team win. The most important thing for me is to be ready for the season.”
Despite becoming a hero in Boston for his painful sacrifice, Campbell’s feelings on the adoration have been a bit unreceptive. Though he appreciates the support, he’s been very clear that he doesn’t want his injury to be the moment he’s known best for. For example, at an autograph signing over the summer he refused to sign any photographs relating to the broken leg. Campbell stated, though, that it has nothing to do with reliving the injury, he’s just feeling uneasy about glorifying the moment.
Regardless, Campbell is focused on nothing else but being ready for the season opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 3. Last night was his biggest step yet towards that goal.