GLENDALE, AZ. The doctors told Gregory Campbell hed be in pain for at least a month after suffering a fracture in his left foot blocking a shot against the Columbus Blue Jackets in mid-December.
The doctors were right, as they usually are, but it took Campbell only eight days and three games before he could wedge his foot into a boot that had been blown out to encase his swollen size 11. The gritty center insisted on taking shifts through pain in wins over the Canadiens and Panthers prior to the Christmas break, and has now played in three straight games with a fracture in his foot.
The fourth-line center played over 15 minutes in the blowout win over Florida and scored a goal with his left foot throbbing, and thats more than a little meaningful. While Campbell isnt always the biggest talker inside the Bs dressing room, its that kind of leading by example and gritting through pain that sets the bar for the rest of the team to follow.
Besides, it could have been worse.
Ive been hit in the head a couple of times with shots, said Campbell. Its gonna take probably four weeks before I wont feel it any more. But I felt a big difference after we came back from the break. It wasnt really great against Montreal and the week of practice was a battle, but its just stops and starts with quick turns where its really affecting me.
I was told it would be four weeks by the doctors and thats really the norm for any broken bone. I can still feel it when I jam my foot into a shoe. But hopefully after four weeks itll be a non-issue. Its really not even an issue now.
A few days off helped the foot prior to the Phoenix win, but Campbell said its still hurting him when he walks around or does anything weight-bearing on the left foot. Itll be like that for at least a couple more weeks with an injury that would have shelved other pro athletes on the injured list if it were any sport aside from the NHL. But its hockey and players grit their teeth through anything short of lopped-off limbs or a concussion.
Hes playing through pain, I think thats what you have to give him credit for said coach Claude Julien. Hes playing through probably a little bit of pain thats still there, but hes sucking it up. The one thing thats great with Soupy Campbell is he doesnt change his style.
He goes out and plays the same way night in, night out, no matter what the situation is. He doesnt know any other way and I think that makes him the player he is.
So Campbell keeps playing and will suit up against mortal enemy Steve Ott on Saturday night in Dallas. Ott took a run at Campbell while he was still a member of the Panthers two years ago, and the scrappy pivots had it out when the Bruins and Stars met last season in Boston.
Theres no doubt the left foot isnt going to stop Campbell from playing now that hes back in the flow of things, and it wont stop him from going after the motor-mouthed Ott if the chance presents itself again this season. That would be altering his game, and thats something Campbell doesnt do for injuries.