Campbell ready to fill higher role if needed


Campbell ready to fill higher role if needed

WILMINGTON, MA In a shortened 48-game NHL schedule, the depth within an organization becomes an important element to sustained success. Each team needs extra forwards and defensemen that can come in and fill the roles of injured starters, and players need to have the ability to be upwardly mobile within the lineup.

Gregory Campbell is the perfect example of one of those versatile forwards that can wear different hats, and is already doing so less than 10 games per season. Normally Campbell is the fourth line center between Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, but injuries to both of the wingers have temporarily torn that forward trio apart.

But he finished Saturday nights win over the Toronto Maple Leafs filling in for the injured Brad Marchand on the Patrice Bergeron line, and skated with Bergeron and Tyler Seguin at Mondays practice. If injuries keep Marchand out for Wednesday nights game against the Canadiens it appears that will be Campbell getting a shot at a top-six forward role with the Bruins.

Campbell doesnt have elite offensive skills, but he is willing to put his body into harms way in front of the net for tips, screens and deflections. The only wrinkle in his new spot is that hell be playing on the wing rather than manning the center position as he does on the energy line.

Hes a guy that can play both positions. With Tyler on the right side with some high-end offensive skills, I think Bergeron could benefit from another guy thats a good two-way player. While Gregory sometimes doesnt get enough credit, when hes got some players like that to play with youre going to see him go to the front of the net, youre going to see him grind it out and hes going to give that line some offense. .

Hes playing a role on the fourth line thats a little different, but he adapts very well.

The fourth line pivot falls into the ultimate team guy category, so hes more than willing to step into any role that will best help the team. The fact both Campbell and Paille can climb up the lines to fill in when injuries occur shows just how much depth Boston enjoys, but clearly a little something will be lost if the teams leading goal-scorer misses a rivalry game against the Habs.

Campbell said he felt comfortable skating with duo when he was slotted there midway through the second period when Marchand suffered an upper body injury after he tumbled into the end boards

I see an opportunity to fill a role if Marchand is out for longer than we expect, said Campbell, who has a goal and three points along with a minus-3 in 8 games this season. Wherever Im playing I want to contribute. Whether its with Bergeron or Seguin or with Paille and Thornton, the roles might be a little different where its an energy role or something thats more of a defensive role.

But I just want to contribute. Wherever I am thats my main goal.

It remains to be seen if Campbell sticks in that left wing spot with Ryan Spooner getting recalled on an emergency basis from the Providence Bruins early on Monday evening, but the fourth line center is ready for the challenge if it presents itself.

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.