Sports Updates every 20 minutes
Weekday mornings and afternoons
Basketball Bucksline: Mondays 7-8 p.m.
Sunday Morning Sports Talk: 9 a.m.-noon
Crew fans get more on your favorite team
By Matt McCoy
My former WTVN colleague Larry Larson, who covered not only high school sports, but also Blue Jackets hockey, used to marvel at the toughness of hockey players. "They're the toughest guys in sports," he used to tell me. He's right. They play a fast, physical, sometimes dangerous and always tough game, night after night for an 82 game season and then the playoffs.
We got concrete evidence of just how tough these guys are in Wednesday night's Boston/Pittsburgh game in the Eastern Conference Final.
With the Penguins on the power play in the second period, Evgeni Malkin's slap shot from the point was blocked by Boston's Gregory Campbell, who put his body in harms way. Campbell was shaken up, but with the puck still in the Boston zone, he shook it off, got to his feet, and in obvious pain, skated out the shift.
Boston killed off the penalty and eventually won the game in double overtime, taking a commanding 3-0 series lead.
It turns out, on his initial dive to the ice and block of Malkin's shot, Campbell suffered a broken leg...yet for another 45 seconds, he stayed on the ice and finished his shift. He even disrupted the play briefly with a poke check of the puck. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even stand with a broken leg, let alone ignore the pain and skate. But I'm not a hockey player...they're a rare breed of tough guys you can't help but appreciate and admire. If you didn't see Campbell's grit, you can check it out here.
Hockey is also a game of violence. There's the fighting of course, but other forms of retaliation occur on a nightly basis. We saw it in game 3 of the Western Finals Tuesday night when Chicago's Duncan Keith slashed former Blue Jacket and L.A. Kings forward Jeff Carter in the face. Carter got 20 stitches...Keith got a one game suspension. With L.A. trying to even the series Thursday night, Keith's swipe could prove to be very costly.