Toughness and heroism are very relative terms. There is real-life toughness and heroism, there is sports toughness and heroism. Adults know the difference. Once in a great while, they cross paths. That was ultimately evident on Marathon Monday. In the world of sports heroism, Campbell offered the textbook definition Wednesday night during a Bruins’ penalty kill for another “too many men on the ice” penalty. There will never be any question of his toughness, real or otherwise.
Campbell took one for the team, in the most literal sense, bearing the full brunt of a Evengy Malkin ICBM launched from his stick. Campbell hit the ice, but then got up complete with what would be determined as a broken leg. His excruciating pain was visible to anyone watching the game. He played 50 seconds of the penalty kill before lumbering on the ice, doing his job without mercy. The Penguins watched in equal disbelief, and seemed almost too stunned to capitalize on it.
The performance triggered the second-loudest cheer of the night. It was the type of play that Bruins fans think of when you say “Bruins.” Campbell has now joined the likes of Terry O’Reilly, Ted Green, Shawn Thornton, Cam Neely, John Wensink, Zdeno Chara and many others when you want to define “Big Bad Bruins.”