With his rarely-wavering sandpaper approach to the game and his ever-increasing penalty-minute total – he’s at 26 PIM through eight games – Gregory Campbell long ago lost his chance at the Lady Byng Award for gentlemanly play.
However, one act he took last week definitely made him a candidate for a hockey humanitarian award, at least in the eyes of TheBruinsBlog.net.
Campbell was penalized four minutes for a high stick against the New York Rangers’ Brandon Prust Oct. 23. While Prust was rushed to the hospital for precautionary reasons, he escaped the incident with just a shiner around his right eye. He played the next night against New Jersey.
But Campbell didn’t just let the incident die. He took the time to call Prust to make sure he knew it was an accidental high stick. According to the Bruins center, Prust texted back with a message of thanks.
“I knew it was an eye injury. I take that pretty seriously. I was just concerned that he was OK. Guys’ careers are ended by eye injuries,” said Campbell about his decision to call last week.
While Campbell downplayed the importance of the action — and also noted that had it been a shoulder or other more-common hockey injury he would’ve been less inclined to pick up the phone — the veteran forward’s action shouldn’t go unnoticed in a league where every day it seems there’s a new illegal body check or cross check to the head to debate.
We all know NHL players are paid to mostly make each other hurt. That doesn’t mean that when the final horn sounds, they can’t show come empathy.
“Obviously, it’s a classy, classy move,” said Bruins wingers Milan Lucic. “You don’t like to see something like that happen to a guy. It was totally accidental and you feel bad. So obviously it was nice of him to do that.”
The Bruins have been on the other side of such an incident. In 2009, Ottawa’s Antoine Vermette high sticked winger Michael Ryder in the face. Ryder actually had to have major surgery to repair some facial fractures. Vermette passed word through Patrice Bergeron that he wished Ryder well and no hard feelings.
“A little respect goes a long way sometimes. You always play hard, but you’ve got to respect your opponent. Just that courtesy call goes a long way sometimes,” said Ryder.
Bergeron wasn’t in the mood to hear what Randy Jones had to say when the then-Philadelphia defenseman called with well wishes after the hit that caused Bergeron’s Grade 3 concussion in 2007. In retrospect, Bergeron said that it means more when the incident on the ice is clearly an accident, but either way it’s positive when a player has regrets for his actions.
“We’re all human beings,” said the Bruins alternate captain. “Off the ice, usually, we get along well. It’s just the way it is on the ice, and it’s just normal that if you see something like that on the ice you do that.”
Sometimes what might be common courtesy in real life can be frowned upon within the NHL. Campbell, however, proved that there is room for being both rugged and caring in professional hockey.
Down on the farm
While the Providence Bruins won’t be sending tape of their 5-1 Sunday loss to Worcester to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the game did feature one positive milestone – center Joe Colborne scored his first professional goal. He now has 1-4-5 totals in nine games. …
Goaltender Matt Dalton’s season with Reading (ECHL) got off to a horrible start, as he matched his career-high with seven goals allowed in a loss. However, he bounced back this week with a 25-save shutout. Dalton is competing with Toronto prospect Ben Scrivens for playing time in Reading’s crease.
“Anywhere goalies go, they have to fight for playing time,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “So if the other fella merits playing over Matt, so be it. There are a lot of goalies in hockey. No one’s going to hand them ice time.”
The little D that could
David Warsofsky, the Boston University defenseman generously listed at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, had a great weekend during a sweep of UMass-Lowell. He posted four assists and a plus-5 rating in the pair of games.
Support our troops
The Bruins last week announced that the Nov. 15 home game against New Jersey will be Military Appreciation Night. Like last year, defenseman Mark Stuart will donate $5,000 worth of tickets to local military families. But this year Blake Wheeler will do the same.
“These guys, these people are giving so much sacrifice to our country. So I know a lot of them from this area are Bruins fans and we’ve been reached out to by a lot of people from this area,” said Wheeler. “Anything you can kind of do to say thank you is really important because if the tables were turned, you’d hope people would do the same thing for you.”