Thomas gets the start, Kampfer in for Ference

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Thomas gets the start, Kampfer in for Ference

PHILADELPHIA With Andrew Ference out of the lineup due to a suspension, the Bruins have paired defenseman Steven Kampfer with Johnny Boychuk while slotting Tim Thomas in as the goaltender against the Flyers. Thomas was the winner Thursday night against the Devils with a solid 30-save effort, and has put up a 1.01 goals against average and a .967 save percentage in two games against the Flyers this season.

Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start for the Flyers between the pipes while they attempt to battle through injuries to Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk and Daniel Briere, among others.
Here is the Bruins protected lineup

Forwards:
Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin
Lucic-Krejci-Horton
Pouliot-Kelly-Peverley
Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Defensemen:
Chara-McQuaid
Seidenberg-Corvo
Kampfer-Boychuk

Goaltender:
Thomas

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

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Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.