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.