BOSTON -- The last thing Gregory Campbell wants to do is talk about himself. He's the consummate worker, not talker.
Fittingly enough on Friday, the Bruins announced the veteran forward has been selected as this season's team nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Campbell personifies this award.
Already a fan favorite in Boston for helping the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011, Campbell reached iconic status last spring when he shattered his right leg blocking a slap shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on June 5 at TD Garden.
Campbell remained on the ice for more than a minute, while helping the Bruins kill a penalty. The injury ended his season and he was forced to watch the Stanley Cup finals as a fan. He had surgery to insert a plate and six screws to help the bone heal.
During the summer, he worked hard and wanted to be cleared to play in the 2013-2014 season-opener, which he was able to accomplish. Despite a slow start, he's played in all 78 games this season.
"Well, I guess it made me realize how lucky I am to play and to be a part of this league and this team," Campbell said prior to Saturday's 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. "The toughest part of the injury was missing games in the playoffs and not having a chance to play for the Stanley Cup. I'm very fortunate I was able to come back and realize that your health is extremely precious, so I'm grateful I've been able to play all the games this year."
Added Campbell, "I'm very thankful for the recognition of what it takes to come back from an injury. It's not an easy thing and it's something that we all sign up for when we play hockey is the risk of having an injury. But having said that, when I look at the list of past and present nominees and winners, there's been a lot of inspiring and courageous people that have been nominated and won this award. I feel like there's been far greater challenges that these guys have overcome, so a broken leg to me isn't much. So, I guess in that sense, I don't think I'm really deserving of the award. I'm very grateful for the nomination, like I said, there's a whole long list of people that have shown a lot of courage over the years. I'll take it and move on."
More important than the perseverance aspect of the Masterton Trophy for Campbell is the sportsmanship component. He's never been afraid to drop the gloves, or sacrifice his body in order to help the Bruins win and that's something he takes pride in.
"Well, I've always been really appreciative of the way this team is built and played, so when I came to Boston I've made a career on doing little things and sacrificing my body for the greater good of the team. I was really excited to come here because I knew it was a team-first mentality, so I'm just trying to fit in and there's nothing special about my game, just working hard and following the number of leaders we have on this team. I've grown up in hockey and I've seen a lot of guys over the years and the success that they've had just because they've worked hard and sacrificed themselves and really tried to do anything they can to win, so I kind of want to model myself after the role models I had growing up and not really make it about me but make it about the team."