Ference won't play Tuesday; Kampfer ready to go

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Ference won't play Tuesday; Kampfer ready to go

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- As the Bruins travel to Columbus, where they'll begin a three-game road trip Tuesday night, there's one defensive spot that needs to be filled.

With Matt Bartkowski sent back down to Providence, the candidates to fill that spot would be Andrew Ference, Steve Kampfer, and Shane Hnidy.

Hnidy (shoulder) can be immediately crossed off that list, because he's not yet available.

As for Ference (lower body) and Kampfer (concussion), both have now practiced with the team for two straight days, and have been cleared to play. Coach Claude Julien said after Sunday's practice that, "with both players, it's a lot of, basically, their decision."

He reiterated that point after Monday's practice. If they feel like they can play, they will be available to fill that sixth and final spot on the defense.

"Kampfer and Ference will be, probably, decisions as we move forward here," said Julien. "If Kampfer feels good, then he's going to be cleared, and the same thing with Ference. But right now, I don't think there's any definite decision that's been made on either of those two players.

"We feel that one of them, at least, will be ready. And hopefully two."

Perhaps Julien was unwilling to tip his hand on Tuesday's lineup against the Blue Jackets, because just minutes before he spoke, Ference had already ruled himself out for Tuesday.

"You're anxious to get back, it's just that balance of being smart, and doing what's best for your injury, and also, not coming back to the point where you're a detriment to your team, by rushing things," said Ference after Monday's practice.

"I'm not playing tomorrow," he later added.

So it looks as if Kampfer will be the Bruins defenseman filling that sixth and final spot in Tuesday's lineup. he said after practice that he felt back up to game speed, and is ready to go, nearly two weeks after suffering a minor concussion on March 3.

"I felt good skating, I felt good getting hit a little bit," said Kampfer. "It all comes down to how I feel the rest of the day, and when I wake up tomorrow."

"You hope that you can play, but at the same time, it's Claude's decision."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.

"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

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"Everything is on track" with Bruins prospect Zboril

Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.

Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”

“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.

“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.

“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”

The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.

Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new

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Morning Skate: Stamkos destined to wind up somewhere new

Here are the links from all around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while happy to be back in the city of Boston.

*The Buffalo Sabres don’t sound happy about the accusations against Evander Kane that cropped up during NHL Draft weekend, why would they be?

*NHL teams can now start discussing free agents, exchanging ideas with them and start the chase up to July 1.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the biggest winners in the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a shocker: the Bruins aren’t among them.

*A good piece from Alex Prewitt on the importance of the land line phones on the draft floor during NHL Draft weekend.

*The Edmonton Oilers are another team that didn’t come out of draft weekend with a defenseman, and are still in search of their back end help.

*A nice piece on Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Pascal Laberge, who could have been plucked by the Bruins at No. 29 rather than Trent Frederic.

*Bruce Garrioch has his Sunday NHL notes, and says that Steven Stamkos appears destined to play somewhere other than Tampa Bay.

*For something completely different: Jonah Keri has TV critic Alan Sepinwall on his podcast, and one can only hope it’s to explain how and why he could have disliked last week’s episode of Game of Thrones.