Campbell silently showing his value to Bruins


Campbell silently showing his value to Bruins

Gregory Campbell had himself a pretty solid road trip.

The fourth-line center opened Bostons scoring in their 3-1 victory over the Penguins on Monday night, and capped off the statement victory by dropping the gloves with Pittsburgh center Joe Vitale while stepping in to protect Tim Thomas.

Then he assisted on Shawn Thorntons third period strike against the Winnipeg Jets in Tuesday nights loss, and skated over 12 minutes of ice time in a contest that Claude Julien liberally sprinkled with the third and fourth line.

Thats a far cry from the month of October when Campbell was a virtual non-factor with zero points and only six shots on net in 10 games. But like the renaissance enjoyed by nearly all of the Bruins since the first month passed, Campbell has turned it up with a pair of goals and 8 points. But offense isnt the main attraction to a player like Campbell, and hes under no illusions about that.

Its always nice to contribute a little bit offensively, but its more about just playing our game and getting the result were looking for, said Campbell. Maybe sometimes it takes us a few more scoring chances to finally break through, but weve been playing a much more consistent game recently. Were bringing energy and spending plenty of time with the puck in the offensive zone.

Once you do that for a long enough period of time good things start happening for you.

While the 27-year-old Campbell only put up a pair of shots on net in those two road games against the Pens and Jets, hes killed penalties, won big face-offs for a Bruins team thats dominated the NHL in the dot and done all of the little things that largely go unnoticed in the box scores.

Campbells 56 percent success rate on draws this season stands behind only Patrice Bergeron (58 percent) for the team lead among Bs centers, and goes right along with the Boston philosophy of strength, dominance and precision down the middle of the ice.

Best of all was the big moment against the Penguins as Pittsburgh attempted to spark a rally after Matt Cooke potted a late goal. The Penguins crashed the net with force and energy, and that included a late Tim Thomas save with Vitale bearing down on him just a little too closely.

Thomas jumped at Vitale when the Pittsburgh forward made initial contact, and was followed by the Bs defenders around the cage. That eventually evolved into Campbell and Vitale scrapping near the Boston cage with both bottom six pivots getting in their shots, and Thomas knowing once again that his teammates had his back. Thomas said he thanked Campbell following the Pittsburgh after Andrew Ference had done the same thing just a few weeks earlier, but the Bs forward said its something thats simply built into the Black and Gold fabric of the team.

Hes arguably the best player that we have, but thats not anything that anybody else would do for any other player on the team in the same circumstances, said Campbell. This is a group of players that fights for each other, and stands up for one another. Whether its Timmy or somebody else, that kind of things has always been addressed.

Campbell isnt the first player that came to mind during Bostons winning streak, but theres a value inherent in his role that goes far beyond the numbers. Just ask his teammates or the best goaltender in the world that constantly play with the knowledge that Campbell will always do the right thing when hes out on the ice.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.