Kampfer's confidence continues to shine


Kampfer's confidence continues to shine

By DannyPicard

BOSTON -- One thing that Steve Kampfer's always shown is confidence.

It's a crucial trait for any defenseman in the NHL. Because even the best "puck-moving" defensemen in the league make mistakes. Just ask former Bruin Dennis Wideman.

Wideman was traded to Florida in the offseason for Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, for two reasons. One, the Bruins needed to add some scoring punch up front. And two, Wideman -- who had all the "puck-moving" talent in the world -- needed a change of scenery, because quite frankly, he was pressing in Boston.

Feeling the pressure is human nature. It happens.

And in a place like Boston, where the critics jump all over you at the drop of a dime, it makes for a tough town to re-gain that confidence, and keep your game in order.

Unless you do what Kampfer did on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden.

The rookie defenseman made a costly mistake in the opening minutes of the second period, turning the puck over in his own zone, and then having the ensuing shot deflect off his body and into the Bruins' net.

It gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, just four minutes into the second, in what was a showdown for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Kampfer attempted to make a breakout pass up the left boards, but it ended up on the stick of Lightning forward Blair Jones at the blue line, who kept the puck in and dropped it off for defenseman Eric Brewer in the high slot.

Brewer let one rip that re-directed off Kampfer and past Tim Thomas.

But Kampfer didn't have a "don't give me the puck" response. Instead, he made up for his crucial mistake two minutes later, taking a Rich Peverley pass from the corner, and sending a low slap shot from the right point past Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith to tie the game at 1-1.

"It was a nice goal he scored," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We talked about our D sliding towards the middle there, and being a little bit more mobile there on the blue line, and that's what he did. It was obviously a big goal for us."

"I think today he got a couple shots through that created some scoring chances," said Milan Lucic, whose third-period goal was the game-winner. "Every team in the league, now, wants to get their D-men involved, and I think we do a good job of getting our D-men involved. they do a really good job of practicing, getting their pucks through, and in the games they get them through.

"As a forward, for myself, being in front of the net, it's nice to have D-men that are capable of that, and it's definitely good for him to get that goal."

Kampfer didn't return for the third period, after taking a hard hit in his own corner from Tampa Bay forward Mattias Ritola. Julien said after the game that he just "got his bell rung" and that he'll be re-evaluated further on Friday.

As of Thursday night, his status for Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins is up in the air. But what's clear is Kampfer's ability to put a mistake behind him, quickly enough to where it won't haunt him the rest of the season, and prevent him from progressing further.

It's that type of confidence that Kampfer's shown all year, which is why he continues to make an impact on a Cup contender in his young NHL career, in a city that doesn't easily forgive or forget.

"It was good for him," said Thomas after Boston's 2-1 win. "I think he felt bad about the first goal. Even though, I don't think he should have felt bad about the puck going off him. That just happens. That's unlucky. But he had a chance to clear the zone before that. To see him come right back, and get it back, it was good for the team, that's for sure. And good for him."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild


Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation


Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want.