We’re several weeks into our worldwide attempt to “flatten the curve” and have been offering daily escapes into the sporting events of yesteryear through our “Filling The Void” series. We’ve looked back on the inspiring, mind-boggling, and remarkable events as well as the ordinary, daily games we’ve been missing in our lives. We here at The Turf Sports sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and being safe through these trying days. We’d also like to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of those front-line folks keeping society going – from the medical community to those stocking grocery store shelves, delivering supplies around the country or helping us all fight this virus together in some other essential, invaluable way. You are all heroes.
Today: Gregory Campbell defines “Boston Strong” and reminds a city what they’re made of.
The 2013 Boston Bruins were a magical team – there’s simply no way they get to the Eastern Conference Finals without a little wizardry. Coming into the playoffs as the 3 seed in the East, the Bruins found themselves with their hands full against a scrappy Toronto Maple Leafs team.
A surprising seven-game series found the Bruins down 4-1 in the latter half of the third period. Who would have thought that a team with an almost decade long losing streak would put up such a fight? But this Bruins team didn’t stop fighting. They refused to lay down and give up.
They would fight to rise above, yet again.
The city of Boston itself was slowly rising back up from the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings that took place a month earlier. The city was reeling, and they found solace at the Garden with the Bruins.
So of course, at that same Garden, the Bruins mounted one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sports. And now they’re in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals playing against one of the greatest hockey teams of recent history, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
After mowing down the Rangers in the previous round, the Bruins got off to a hot start against the top-seeded Penguins, taking a 2-0 series lead into tonight’s game in Boston. If the Bruins can win tonight they’ll take a commanding series lead, and a Stanley Cup appearance would be within their grasp. Win tonight, and you shape your destiny.
And playing in tonight’s game is Gregory Campbell.
Every team has that one guy on their team who doesn’t have the quickest swing, or the sweetest jump shot, or the hardest slap shot, but they’re still loved by the fanbase. Gregory Campbell was that guy for the 2012-13 Bruins.
One of only four Bruins players to never miss a game of the shortened season, Campbell was not the fastest guy on the ice, nor did he have the softest hands, nor the hardest shot. What Gregory Campbell did have was a knack for killing penalties. And tonight, while killing a Penguins power play in the second period, Gregory Campbell put the entire city of Boston on his back and stood up. But there’s more to the story than that.
Sidney Crosby took the puck into the Bruins zone and passed it back to Evgeni Malkin at the point, who rocketed a shot towards Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. The puck, however, never got to the net. Gregory Campbell had slid in front of the shot, taking it in the leg, instantly breaking the right fibula. As the Penguins gathered the puck and Malkin rocketed another shot towards the Bruins goal, Campbell attempt to get up, but his leg gave out. Getting to a knee as play continued around him, the Bruins forward took a breath and stood up and went after the puck.
As he gets to his feet…
The realization that there are still 45 seconds left on the power play dawns on everyone in the Garden.
It’s not just that Campbell makes one lunge at the puck, knocking it briefly away from Malkin. No, it’s the fact that he continually goes into the action of the play, despite being barely able to skate.
At that moment, the Garden crowd rose to their feet, chanting his name. Gregory Campbell had entered legendary status in Boston. All it took was 45 seconds for one man to remind his city what “Boston Strong” truly meant.
All Gregory Campbell needed was 45 seconds to get Boston back on its feet.