Teammates excited to have 'Soupy' back

BOSTON -- It appears Gregory Campbell is back.

For the first time since he shattered his right leg blocking a slap shot during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on June 5, Campbell has been cleared to return to game action and will play in a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Based on Thursday morning’s skate, Campbell will center Daniel Paille and Craig Cunningham.

“For us to have Soupy back creates a lot of excitement,” Paille said. “What he brings to our team in general, let alone the sacrifice he made during the playoffs, he brings so much more. Especially with his leadership, too, he’s grown into that while he’s been here. Everyone is generally happy to get him back in the lineup tonight. We’re all fortunate to see him tonight and not just waiting for the regular season.

Even though Cunningham is playing the wing Thursday, once the regular season begins on Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning it’s likely that the complete energy line of Paille, Campbell and Shawn Thornton will be intact.

“It’s not too often a fourth line sticks around together for that many years,” Paille said. “We don’t consider ourselves that way and that’s why we’ve been so successful. We look at the challenges we have in those games and we compete the guys we’re playing against every night. We’re not competing against each other, we’re competing against the other team.”