Playoff run was still aces for idle Kampfer


Playoff run was still aces for idle Kampfer

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Steve Kampfer may not have actually played in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but he still had an amazing learning experience.

Kampfer suffered a knee injury at the end of the regular season that prevented him from skating for the Bruins early in the playoffs, and the subsequent rust made it unlikely the young blueliner would get into the postseason unless an injury knocked somebody out of the lineup.

But Kampfer did get to participate in the warm-up skates as a member of the Black Aces traveling with the team, and was in the dressing room leading up to some of the biggest Bruins playoff games in franchise history. Those memories and the lessons learned from a rookie season in the NHL should be beneficial to Kampfer and so many of the other Black Aces from the playoffs.

I think there is potential for improvement, said coach Claude Julien. The Black Aces saw a lot of things happening. They were with us for the whole playoffs and I think theyve got a lot of opportunity to grow and be around.

When you look at the players that we had, whether its Tyler Seguin now that hes got a year under his belt, Steven Kampfer was one of those guys and Adam McQuaid really did take a big step from the year before. Were hoping thats going to continue as far as our group is concerned.

When Kampfer did play last season he showed some telltale signs he was a rookie on the ice, but the defenseman also flashed many of the skills that the Bruins valued so heavily when they traded for his rights two years ago. Kampfer had 10 points and a plus-9 in 38 regular season games for the Bs, and in his best moments flashed the skating wheels, aggressiveness and vision key to being the puck-moving defenseman so highly valued around the league.

There were low points, of course. Kampfer suffered some mental lapses and defensive breakdowns in a road loss to the Nashville Predators in his last game before being dropped back to the AHL.

That came at the end of a stretch when Kampfers minutes tailed off and the consistency waned in his game, but the 22-year-old has learned from those lessons and arrived stronger than ever in camp this season. He paid close attention to defensive detail while tailoring his workouts this summer, and said he wants to be even faster than he was last season.

In an NHL built on speed thats a smart move by Kampfer.

Youve got to work hard and earn your spot and work hard every practice and every game. Its something thats going to be a challenge all preseason. You just basically work on the things that the coaches told you to work on at the end of last season, and work on the things that got you here, said Kampfer. The playoffs was awesome. Being in the warm-ups and being in the room with the guys before the game you cant even describe it.

It was a good feeling because you got to see what everybody was going through mentally and physically. Youre prepared for it if you find yourself in that situation.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.


Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

Both Millers missing from Bruins practice, but trending toward return

BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.

Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.

Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.

Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.

“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”

Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game: