Campbells enjoy the Stanley Cup as father and son


Campbells enjoy the Stanley Cup as father and son

By Joe Haggerty Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
VANCOUVER Hockey is a sport about tight-knit families as much as anything else.

The tradition of brothers with NHL bloodlines like the Sutter clan and the Staal boys wearing sweaters all across the league are something of a hockey tradition up there with the Esposito brothers in the 1970s, or Gordie Howe playing with his sons in the WHL.

Hockey dads and coachs sons are so much a part of the hockey fabric that it was natural to see so many Bruins players celebrating with their families -- dads, brothers, sons, daughters, moms and sisters -- following their Game 7 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

Milan Lucic was surrounded by his entire family, including his ultra-supportive father, Dobro, in the visitors dressing room after the game. Brad Marchand's dad was there, too. But there was one father-and-son combo that managed to escape much notice.

It was fourth line center Gregory Campbell and his well-known father Colin Campbell. Together, along with the rest of the Campbell family, they hanging around in a corner of Rogers Arena snapping pictures, smiling and deriving enjoyment after a huge performance from Campbell and his linemates in Game 7.

Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille capped off the most successful season for a fourth line under Claude Julien in Boston by setting the physical edge during the first period of Game 7. The trio provided the energy that helped eventually overwhelm the beaten-down Canucks. (Thornton added a little intimidation level for good measure when he took on both Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo at once during a scrum in the first period.)

Campbell skated more than 14 minutes in Bostons most important game of the year, and he notched an assist along with three registered hits and three shots to cap off his very first playoff season.

The former Florida Panther, along with the heavy-hitting intensity of Thornton and the speedy fore-check of Paille, helped the Bruins take both Games4 and 7 with their energy.

Its also no coincidence the Bruins were 12-3 during the postseason when the fourth line managed more than eight minutes of ice time in the game a stat Campbell and Co. clearly took pride in.

One of our main jobs was to provide energy. We knew how electric the crowd was in Vancouver, so it was important to get that momentum for our team and play hard," said Campbell. "Claude Julien really showed a lot of confidence in playing us quite a bit out there. You need depth and character to win the Cup. We genuinely liked each other on this team and you cant overlook that. Everybody wants to play for one another rather than just for themselves.

We relied a lot on our depth but it's character that counts, especially when youve had three Game 7 wins in the same playoffs. I now fully have the appreciation for everybody thats won the Stanley Cup because its got to be one of the hardest trophies to win in pro sports.

The normal grimy, edgy competition for the Cup might seem to pale in comparison, however, to the slings, arrows and impropriety accusations thrown at Campbell and his father throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Its something both father and son are unfortunately used to, of course.

It also became a moot point when the elder Campbell announced at the beginning of the Cup Final he was stepping down as the NHL Sheriff in charge of hockey operations and supplemental discipline.

The move will certainly make life a little less stressful for father and son, with no questions of nepotism hanging over their heads. There will be no waiting around for the next hatchet job column by some overexcited, mouth-breathing heckler from another NHL outpost looking for the latest conspiracy theory.

It comes with the territory, Gregory said. Its something that Ive had to deal with, but I never felt sorry for myself. I just called on experiences from living around hockey day in and day out, and being around hockey all the time as a kid. Im not apologizing for Colins job, but its certainly satisfying to do something that you can call your own.

Colin understood the heated nature of the series between the Canucks and the Bruins, and knew there wouldnt be much in the way of boundaries for each side attempting to gain a competitive advantage. Certainly it was difficult to sit on the sideline and watch it all unfold when his sons teammate was bitten minutes into the series opener.

But thats exactly what he did in handing the job over to Mike Murphy.

It was definitely a mean, nasty Final and there were things on either side, Colin said. But youre going to have some of that stuff when two teams are playing for something this important to their livelihoods. There were some incidents in this series that were dealt with, but its nowhere near the 2000 Stanley Cup Final between the Devils and the Stars. I was convinced that somebody was going to die in that series.

Im just happy it was a relatively well-behaved and well-played Game 7 for both sides and you saw two teams out there competing hard in a do-or-die situation. I wouldnt say it was easy or relaxing watching my son play in playoffs that I knew was so important to him, but Im just proud of the way he played. His line got their number called quite a bit in Game 7 and they were able to make themselves a factor out on the ice.

Instead of comments about suspensions or answering questions about the one power play handed out during the first two periods of Game 7, it was instead father Colin and son Gregory who drew from the pure elation of the ultimate father and son hockey moment of raising a Stanley Cup together.

Greg was too young to remember when I was playing, but he was always around the team, the players and the equipment guys growing up as a coachs son, said Colin. Hes watched up close just how much guys sacrifice to try to get their name on the Cup, and you can see that knowledge in the way that he plays. I couldnt be any more proud of him.

After all the arguments, conspiracy theories and blame games associated with the Campbell last name over the last two years, Wednesday night had none of that. It was all about a father and son enjoying their precious first moment with the Cup.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.