|Campbell and Paille spent the last five seasons together as grinders on the Bruins' fourth line (Photo via Jared Silber and Getty Images)|
The Bruins believe it is time for a change, as they have fired GM, Peter Chiarelli while also announcing that Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille will not be returning to the team for the 2015-2016 season.
A lot of Bruins' fans have been calling for the B's to bag these guys for a while, and to move on from the whole "fourth line grinder" strategy that these two brought to the table.
The fourth line certainly had a great decline in production this past season with the departure of Shawn Thornton. Another reason for the line's lack of hard nosed and productive play was Paille having to fill in on different lines all throughout the season due to the vast number of injuries suffered by Bruins' forwards. At times, Paille would play on three separate lines three games in a row.
When your team finishes the way that the Bruins did, it is clear that some changes have to be made. Not to bash Campbell and Paille, but the production we are used to seeing from them just wasn't there this season.
We saw a lot of worst case scenarios with injuries, along with the two players having to adjust to a new right winger playing along side them for a majority of the season, as well as their bodies aging and abilities declining. It makes sense for the Bruins to move on from Campbell and Paille, but it would be naive of all Bruins fans to not appreciate all that these two have done for the Bruins during their careers here.
Paille ends his career in Boston with 50 goals and 47 assists, while Gregory Campbell had 39 goals and 52 assists in a black and gold sweater.
For Gregory Campbell, he was traded to the Bruins along with Nathan Horton in a blockbuster 2010 offseason trade with the Florida Panthers for defenseman, Dennis Wideman. Both Horton and Campbell helped guide the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 seasons during their first year with the Bruins in 2011, with Campbell pocketing thirteen goals and sixteen assists that season.
Campbell had many memorable moments with the Bruins, as he was a small, feisty, and ferocious competitor who's gritty style of play defined what it means to be a Bruin.
During a game against Dallas in Campbell's first season with the Bruins in 2011, Campbell squared off with "Brave" Steve Ott, a notorious villain to Bruins' fans, just one second into the game. Campbell's fight was immediately followed by Shawn Thornton squaring up with Matt Barch, and Adam McQuaid manhandling Brian Sutherby. There were three fights in four seconds to start the game, followed by two Bruins' goals in the first minute and twenty seconds. This is the type of element that Campbell brought to the Bruins. He got his team fired up right off the opening draw and it resulted in a lob sided win.
The fourth line of Campbell, Paille, and Thornton made a name for themselves around the league for their physical play and their ability to catch teams by surprise and produce on offense. Many teams in the NHL don't give nearly the amount of ice time to the fourth line as the Bruins normally do, and that results in more tired legs. That was a major advantage for the Bruins and it worked out greatly for them especially in 2013 when they took on the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Semi's. In that series, the Bruins fourth line attributed ten points (four goals, six assists) in the Bruins 4-1 series win over New York, including the game winner in the final minutes of game three.
Another great moment from Gregory Campbell came in the next round of the 2013 playoffs, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Campbell, while killing a penalty in overtime, dove to block a riffle of a shot from Evgeni Malkin. The shot broke Campbell's leg and he stayed on the ice to finish his shift and kill the penalty. That is heroic, and about as tough as tough gets. Jack Edwards sums it up perfectly:
The Bruins acquired Dan Paille in 2009 from the Buffalo Sabres for third and fourth round draft picks.
Paille's claim to fame was his ability play alongside anybody. In 2013, during the Bruins second appearance in the Cup Final in three seasons against Chicago, Paille played along side Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin on the third line. The Bruins' third line attributed both goals in the B's 2-1 game two victory to tie the series at one, with Paille netting the game winning goal in overtime. Paille would go on to add three more points throughout the series before the Bruins fell in six games.
While Paille is mainly known as a fourth line grinder, he had a great ability to fill in on the first line with Bergeron and Marchand from time to time, as well as playing on the second and third lines throughout his career in Boston.
In the end, its more then just goals, assists, and blocked shots that these guys gave to the Bruins. They gave blood, sweat, leadership, and were role models to younger players. Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille did it all for the black and gold, and while it is sad to see them go, we can all surely be thankful for all they have done for this franchise. Campbell and Paille may be gone, but they left a hell of a legacy behind in Boston.
Stats via nhl.com and espn.com
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