Kampfer coming to grips with Cup absence

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Kampfer coming to grips with Cup absence

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The good news that Marc Savard would see his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup along with the rest of the 2010-11 Boston Bruins was overwhelmingly positive.

But, like most instances of good news, it was tempered by the flip side of that same equation. While Savard and his courageous efforts to play last season through the aftereffects of a hellacious concussion were recognized along with his contributions toward making the Bruins a Cup-worthy organization, several Bruins that made sizable contributions to last seasons club were not.

Rookie defensemen Steve Kampfer and veteran blueliner Shane Hnidy did not get their names chiseled on the Cup along with the rest of their Bs teammates. Both players got their individual days with the Cup this summer, and both will get championship rings from the Bruins. But both also fell short of the league requirements for getting on the Cup, with Hnidy only appearing in three regular-season contests at the end of the year before playing in two postseason games.

Kampfer came up agonizingly short after appearing in 38 regular-season games for the Bruins, and didnt qualify under either Cup criteria: A minimum 41 regular-season games played, or an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Kampfer said that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli informed him last week about the leagues final decision on the Cup names, and the young defensemen took it reasonably well. Kampfer had to know he might not get the leagues blessing given his standing as an NHL newcomer, and he was able to enjoy all of the other spoils that come along with being a Stanley Cup champ.

Peter talked to me the other day and we talked about some of the reasons why my name wasnt on there, said Kampfer. Obviously being my first year I didnt have a background to establish myself in the league, and the NHL has a new policy when it comes to that.

Im happy that I was a part of the team for three-quarters of the year, even if I came up three games short. Ill always be linked with the team because I was there and I was the next defensemen to go in. I cant really change it. But it gives you that hunger to go win it again and make sure your name is on it the next time around.

Several pictures surfaced over the last week that displayed the new Bruins team inscription on the famed hockey chalice, and it included Savards name along with Patrice Bergeron opting for his fully hyphenated name of Patrice Bergeron-Cleary honoring both of his parents.

Surely Kampfer would have loved to honor his family and his own hockey career by having his name scrawled on the Cup alongside the 22 Bs teammates that are just beginning a 60-year stretch of inscription on the Cup. But Kampfer is also 23 years old, and well aware hes got a lifetime to once again ascend the NHL mountaintop.

I was ecstatic to be a part of it and glad that we were the Stanley Cup champs, said Kampfer. I think that Im hungrier now, but I dont think that changes things at all. If you asked anybody in this room if theyre hungry to win again, theyll say, 'Absolutely', because its the pinnacle of hockey. You cant get any better than that.

One thing would be better than that the next time: Kampfer getting his name immortalized on the Cup along with his Black and Gold teammates.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

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Anton Khudobin battles for a huge win filling in for Tuukka Rask

BROOKLYN, NY – Things didn’t go so well last season for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask suddenly wasn’t well enough to play in the last game of the season, so there was good reason for the B’s to be a little nervous when their No. 1 goalie again couldn’t answer the bell Saturday night vs. the Islanders.

Anton Khudobin had won four games in a row headed into Saturday night, of course, and in his previous start he’d helped snap a 10-game winning streak for the Calgary Flames. So perhaps it wasn’t all that surprising when Khudobin stood tall for the Bruins making 18 saves in a tight, nervy 2-1 win over the Isles at the Barclays Center.

“You don’t have that many shots, but maybe 10 scoring chances…that can be tougher than seeing 30 shots and same amount of scoring chances,” said Khudobin. “But I’m glad got the job done, we got our points and we got the ‘W’.”

It wasn’t wall-to-wall action in a game where both teams combined for 37 shots on net, but it was still impressive that Khudobin and the B’s special teams killed off six Islander power plays in such a tight hockey game. After the B’s backup netminder was lauded for the way he battled in the crease and competed for pucks like his team’s very life was on the line in a pivotal game.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots. And you kill that many penalties. It was a nice building block for us,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I loved his performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

One could spend days analyzing Cassidy's words and wondering much of that was deserved, appreciative praise for Khudobin, and how much of that might have been a veiled message to Boston's No. 1 goaltender sitting back home in Boston. 

The best save of the night probably won’t even count as a save for the Russian netminder. It was John Tavares, after having beaten Khudobin once in the first period, moving into the offensive zone with speed during a third period power play, and getting an open look at the net front in the high slot. Khudobin thought quickly and dropped into the unconventional double-stack pad save that seemed to throw Tavares off just a little, and the Isles sniper smoked the shot off the crossbar rather than tying up the game.

“I didn’t touch it. I didn’t really have time to get there, so the only thing I tried to do was the two-pad stack, old school Bob Essensa-style,” said Khudobin, who has now improved to 6-5-1 with a 2.60 goals against and an .899 save percentage this season. “Then he hit the crossbar. You need to get some luck in this league, and if you don’t get luck you’re going to lose games.”

A little luck and a little good, old-fashioned battling between the pipes was enough for Khudobin and the Bruins in Saturday night’s mammoth win. Now the questions become whether or not to go right back to Khudobin again on Tuesday at home against the Nashville Predators.