Kampfer's rookie mistakes cost the B's

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Kampfer's rookie mistakes cost the B's

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

NASHVILLE Steve Kampfer has already experienced deliriously high moments and challenging low points during a full-figured NHL rookie season.

But Thursday in Nashville was one of those deep, dark nights that the rookie blueliner will remember as being close to rock-bottom when hes looking back on the season.

Kampfer has largely been very solid in his first NHL season as that rare puck-moving defenseman for the Bruins, but he made a pair of costly mistakes in the closing minutes of a 4-3 overtime loss to Predators.

They were the kind of costly gaffes that make you wonder how ready Kampfer is for playoff-style pressure, and whether he might be headed for a seat in the press box when Andrew Ference returns to action, perhaps as soon as this weekend.

The defeat was one of those games that a playoff team simply shouldnt lose this late in the year and mental mistakes, in the form of defensive breakdowns, simply shouldnt be happening.

Weve had a chance to review the goals. We need sharpness in how were thinking the game right now, said a perturbed Claude Julien. Were making some poor decisions mentally."

Davod Legwand goal's, little more than halfway through thethird period, tied things up at 3-3, and was the play that seemed toirk Julien most after the loss. It was a bad line change on an expiringpower play to kick things off, as Martin Erat got behind the Boston defense.There should have attention lavished on one of Nashvilles hottestoffensive players as he hopped out of the penalty box, but there was noBruin to be found.

Erats breakaway chance was kicked away byTuukka Rask as he moved out of his cage, and the Bs goaltender somehow got apiece of Sergei Kostitsyns rebound attempt in front of the net.

Kampferhad arrived as defensive support by that point and tried to fill up thenet as he landed in the crease on his stomach, but that left bothdefenseman and goaltender unable to do much of anything. Legwand jumpedon the sliding puck in front of the net and deposited the tying goalfor the Predators.

"Erat is on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box on a poor line change, but Tuukka bails us out," said Julien. "Then our D " meaning Kampfer "is on the back-check and ends up flat on his stomach in the crease.

"All he has to do is stop the slot, then the first save has been made and the puck is in the corner. But you end up flat on your stomach for no reason because theres nobody there, and it ends up being a goal.

Kampfer caught an edge and ended up on all fours in the goal crease.

The rookie defenseman compounded the mistake by taking a holding penalty on Mike Fisher in overtime. The ensuing power play led to Nashville defenseman Shea Weber beating Rask at the high point with a blistering slap shot.

Thats a real bad penalty in overtime, and weve seen that a lot lately, said Julien. A lot of bad penalties. Thats more mental than physical. I thought our team really battled hard tonight. We came out really well in the third period like we wanted to win that hockey game.

But then you give them that tying goal, and a bad penalty at the end. We have to get sharper with our decision-making because its getting too costly for us.

The numbers werent so bad for Kampfer on the evening as a whole, but the growing pains cost the Bruins a victory. The Bs rookie has looked much older and more advanced for most of the season, but it appeared the learning curve has slowed now that things have sped up on him at the worst time.

The holding penalty on Fisher was the one misstep that stayed with Kampfer after the game was finished.

It was a bad penalty, said Kampfer. Ill be the first one to admit it. It was a bad penalty on my part. I cost the team the game. It was my fault. Its a bad penalty. Its my fault. Theres nothing more to say. Its my fault.

Youve got to forget, but at the same time youve got to learn from mistakes. So hopefully Ill learn from it.

As with many game-changing plays late in the season with mounting importance, there were differences of opinion between player and coach and between teammates on and off the ice about some of the mistakes. Kampfer mentioned several times after the game that hefelt Rask was out of place and out of position, which blurs thelines of who was really at fault for the debacle.

Ill be thefirst one to say to Rask that those last two goals were my fault,said Kampfer. But youre trying to help out your goalie when hes outof position and it backfires. Its a frustrating game for the team.

Rask, for his part, was clearly upset about the defensive breakdowns in front of him that led to the Legwand score, and fired his stick straight up in the air out of sheer frustration when the game was tied.

Its a tough loss, said Rask. We get the lead, stuff happens and then you lose the game.

Obviously maybe you do something differently, but its some tough luck. We shouldnt lose this kind of game. I thought we had everything under control there, and then its just a tough loss.

Julien feels like Kampfer deserves much of the criticism for being out of position in the Bruins' defensive system, and he wont let his young players forget it.

Kampfer said he was simply jumping into the crease for Tuukka, because he was out of place though it was clear Rask was out of position because Erat had managed to get behind every layer of the Boston defense.

Thats exactly what I was trying to do, said Kampfer. Tuukka was out of place and the guy is getting the shot. Im trying to cover up, and the puck goes right to the other guy. Theres nothing more to say. Youre trying to stop a goal and it backfires on you.

While its still an isolated incident, Kampfer has to hope there arent too many more backfires before the season begins.

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

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Sunday, Jan. 22: Jimmy Vesey's rookie wall

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter for taking part in the Women’s March on Saturday.

*The day-to-day NHL grind may be getting to Jimmy Vesey a bit, and causing him to hit a bit of a rookie wall after his Harvard career.

*Alex Radulov has gone from being an NHL headache to being an impact playmaker for the Canadiens in a quick pivot for the Russian player.

*Melrose native Conor Sheary seems to have found a home for himself on the Pittsburgh Penguins skating on a line with a guy named Sidney Crosby.

*The Chicago Blackhawks are always looking to improve, and they’ve reportedly kicked the tires on Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar with Detroit.

*St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is nearing another coaching milestone in what’s been a long, distinguished career behind the bench.

*P.K. Subban is slowly approaching a return to the Nashville Predators lineup from injury, and the Preds need him as soon as possible.

*For something completely different: Greg Poppovich hits the nail on the head here, and it never ceases to amaze me that he’s such a smart, well-versed human being.

 

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Saturday, Jan. 21: McKenzie on Julien's job security

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.

*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.  

*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.

*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.

*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.

*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.

*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.

*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.