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.

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that.