Kampfer (knee) not feeling snake-bitten

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Kampfer (knee) not feeling snake-bitten

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Steve Kampfer wouldnt be blamed if he started feeling like the term buzzards luck applied to him.

The 23-year-old defenseman suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee during the second-to-last preseason game against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden, and basically eliminated himself from the opening night roster due to injury. For a guy that missed out on the first few rounds of the playoffs after spraining his right knee last season, Kampfer was going through a few different emotions as he works his way back into the lineup.

The timetable set by the Bs was a 2-4 week recovery after last weeks injury, and thats pretty fortunate considering that Kampfer thought he felt the dreaded pop in the knee when he first collided with Jared Cowen.

I think it was more of an oh no or a not again than feeling pissed when it happened. I felt like the same thing happened as last year, said Kampfer. I feel good now knowing what it is, and Ive started rehab. Knowing its not as severe definitely helps.

Kampfer had an assist and a plus-2 in four preseason games for the Bruins, and had really turned the corner in the last couple of exhibition games after a nice little pep talk from Bs assistant general manager Don Sweeney. The motivational talk took place right before the second game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre, and it appeared Kampfer had secured that seventh defenseman spot before his knee buckled after the awkward hit with Cowen.

Don Sweeney came and talked to me . . . it was actually at snack right before the game in Montreal, said Kampfer. He was like go play your game . . . move the puck and move your feet. I think that game helped me get going and I had felt great ever since. Sometimes you need that extra push, or that reassuring comment about going to play your game. It was about not trying to over-think things and going back to what you do best. Its definitely helpful when your assistant GM talks to you about things. Hes definitely taken me under his wing a little bit since Ive been here, and always given me helpful information. I listen to him. I respect Sweeney so much, so anything he says I really take it to heart.

But Kampfer is still with the Bruins after the latest rounds of cuts and the team-bonding weekend, so it appears like that hell remain with the Bs while recovering from the injury. That also means the opportunity is there for Kampfer to earn that seventh defensemen spot with the Bs outright once hes healthy again a roster spot that fellow Bs defensemen youngster Matt Bartkowski is holding after an inconsistent preseason.

Its reassuring and nice to know that they have a plan for you as a player, said Kampfer. When I get healthy and I get back then I just have to play my game.

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

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.