BOSTON — There’s only two things Gregory Campbell knows how to do in order to stem the tide of controversy that has come his way because of the recent revelations that his father – longtime NHL Executive VP Colin Campbell – used emails to subordinates to criticize Bruins center Marc Savard.
He can keep on playing the game with his own brand of skill and grit, and make sure both Savard, now his teammate for the first time, and father know he’s behind them.
“I think when someone in your family’s getting attacked like that, it’s not easy,” said Campbell after he scored a big goal in Boston’s 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles at TD Garden. “But, like I said, I support him and I support the decisions that he makes. They’re not my decisions. But he’s pretty thorough at what he does and he has a lot of passion and a lot of pride and he works hard at what he does. So for him to take it on the chin like he has, I mean he’s in a tough position. But that’s the job he chose to do as well. He expects the criticism and stuff like that that comes along with it.
“I think in situations like this, it’s more important to be supportive of both sides and not as so much go on the offense but kind of let it pass and focus on important things. And for me, the important thing is this team right now.”
While Colin Campbell has been on several television and radio programs trying to defuse the situation by explaining that the emails were taken out of context, both Savard and Gregory Campbell remained mum about the controversy – which included on missive from Colin Campbell from three years ago calling Savard a fake artist – until today. Savard, on the road back from post-concussion syndrome, skated with the full Bruins squad this morning. After the skate he spoke of having “nothing against Coli” and having “no hard feelings” with Gregory. The younger Campbell appreciated what Savard said in public and in private to him.
“It shows a lot of professionalism on his part,” said Campbell. “Savvy and I, there’s been no problem at all. He’s been great and I support Savvy 100 percent. That situation’s totally separate from him and I and my place on this team. My job is to play and help this team and I support Savvy 100 percent.”
Gregory Campbell has obviously been dealing with controversies surrounding his father, who is in charge of the league’s discipline, ever since he reached the NHL. He points out that he chose to play hockey rather than avoid such matters, and so he has learned to roll with the punches.
That showed tonight, as Campbell again proved to be a top-notch fourth-line center on a trio with Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand. Thornton drew two penalties, and after a third that might’ve been caused by Thornton, Campbell scored the Bruins’ second goal during the delayed-call situation. The return of David Krejci from a concussion juggled Boston’s lineup so that the “Energy Line” could be reunited and it paid off big time.
If he keeps up this type of play, the Bruins and their fans won’t care who Campbell’s dad is or what any of his family members say about his teammates.
“I support Savvy in the situation that’s going on with him,” said Campbell about Savard’s comeback. “When it happened he wasn’t my teammate [last spring]; now he’s my teammate. I’m thrilled to be playing with a player like that and I support my dad as well. He has a tough job and he’s in a tough position on every call. But at the end of the day, the job that he does and the job that I do are completely different worlds and I have to focus on playing hockey.”
So far, that focus has been unwavering.