The image from last year’s playoffs of Gregory Campbell gritting through agonizing pain to finish off a nearly minute-long penalty kill shift with a broken leg is one that perfectly exemplifies what the Masterton Trophy is all about: perseverance, dedication to hockey and good sportsmanship.
The perseverance didn’t end there, however.
Campbell diligently trained all summer to make sure he didn’t miss a minute of training camp while recovering from the broken right fibula, and was healthy to start the regular season. In fact, through the month of March Campbell hasn’t missed a single game yet this season. It was clear the 30-year-old Campbell wasn’t up to full speed to start the year, but he continued putting in the tireless work that eventually returned him to form as the center of the NHL’s best fourth line.
After an understandably slow start, Campbell has turned in another highly productive season for the Black & Gold registering seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 75 appearances.
Here's how I described Campbell's contributions and nomination in my official duty as chairman of the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association:
“Gregory Campbell’s entire hockey career has been about perseverance, dedication to hockey and paying the highest level of respect to the game he loves so much. The image of Campbell gritting his way through excruciating pain to finish a penalty kill shift with a broken leg during last year’s conference final is one nobody will soon forget. It’s also the perfect example of Campbell’s dedication to his team, selflessness and willingness to give every last ounce he has to fully compete. That doesn't even include Campbell's heavy involvement in the community, including delivering pies to Boston homeless shelters on Thanksgiving morning each year. The Boston Chapter of the PHWA is proud to nominate Gregory Campbell for this season’s Masterton Trophy.”
Campbell has always paid the highest level of respect to the game of hockey, and is fearless when it comes to standing up for his teammates no matter the size and strength advantage of his opponent. There’s also an off-the-ice component to the Masterton Trophy criteria, and Campbell qualifies in those areas as well. He has always been generous with his time when it comes to dealing with the large media contingent surrounding the Bruins, and has personally delivered pies to numerous Boston homeless shelters on Thanksgiving morning in each of the last three years in addition to numerous other group charity events in the community.
The Masterton Trophy winner is decided among 30 nominees from each of the NHL teams as voted on by each of the 30 chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and is announced along with the other NHL award winners this June in Las Vegas. The award goes to the NHL player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey."
Adam McQuaid was the Bruins’ nominee for the Masterton Trophy last season, and was named one of three finalists for a trophy that eventually was awarded to Minnesota goalie Josh Harding.