Last night the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime to take a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was a great team effort, top to bottom, Tuukka Rask was outstanding for Boston, but the real hero here is Bruins forward Gregory Campbell.
On a penalty kill in the 2nd period Campbell took a slap shot to the leg as he blocked a shot toward the Boston net. He went down for about 10 seconds and hobbled around for another 60, giving his team everything he had in what would be his last minute of the 2013 season. Campbell broke his leg on the play.
Which brings me to my point, hockey players are the toughest athletes in sports. Any other event, NFL, NBA, or MLB there would’ve been an immediate stoppage with everyone and their brother from the medical staff out there to carry him off the field of play. But not in hockey. Campbell got back to his feet, played another 60, and skated off on his own power. That. Takes. Balls. A similar incident happened to Nicholas Hjalmersson of the Chicago Blackhawks the other night, same heart to stay out and finish your shift. Fortunately for him no serious injury occurred.
Baseball players miss weeks or months with a broken finger. Hockey players don’t miss practice. Basketball players can’t bump each other. Hockey players level each other. If there’s a fight in football, call the federal government. You’re allowed to fight in hockey.
To wrap this up, if you’re not a fan of hockey, watch these playoffs and you’ll be hooked. Hop on a teams bandwagon and see where it takes you because the respect you develop for these guys night in and night out is more than enough to grow the fan base of the NHL and hockey everywhere.