|11.12.11 at 12:33 pm ET|
Normally when a player returns to the lineup after a long stretch without game action, there’s some sort of an adjustment as far as comfort goes. In Steven Kampfer‘s case, Saturday may be just the opposite.
Kampfer will play for the first time since Oct. 22 when he skates Saturday in place of Andrew Ference, who is dealing with a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old blueliner played two games last month, but was coming off his second knee injury in a matter of months at the time. Now, he’s a month and a half removed from the left knee sprain he suffered on Sept. 29 against the Senators, and as a result, feels more comfortable physically than he did in his October cameo.
“Definitely,” Kampfer said when asked whether he feels better now than when he last played. “I think a couple extra weeks definitely helps. I think it was good to kind of let it heal and get a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more confidence. I think now, being a couple months [after] it, it definitely feels a lot better, and I can tell that on the ice.”
The team’s seventh defenseman, Kampfer has had to use practice to get his speed and other attributes back. He’s also worked with power-skating instructor Besa Tsintsadze. It’s been a process for Kampfer, who injured his right knee at the end of the regular season while playing for Providence, to get back to where he wants to be, but he hopes he’s there now.
“Moving my feet, getting my speed back, the first couple of steps,” Kampfer said of what he’s been working on. “It takes a little bit of time to get back after sustaining a couple knee injuries. ‘¦ It’s those first two or three steps, your lateral mobility and stuff like that. It feels better now.”
Said coach Claude Julien: “He’s been working hard in practice, and I think this is an opportunity for him now to come into a game and play the way he can. ‘¦ You’ve got to understand that he hasn’t played in a while, so we can’t put our expectations too high but more, get a solid performance from him and a simple game. That’s all we’re going to need from Kampfer tonight. And then he’ll just work his way in, and feel better I’m sure as we move forward.”
Saturday will be Kampfer’s third game of the season and fourth career game against the Sabres. In three games against Buffalo last year, Kampfer picked up a goal and an assist.
|11.12.11 at 12:05 pm ET|
When the Bruins raised their Stanley Cup champions banner on the night of the season-opener with nearly their entire Cup-winning roster still intact, nobody would have believed that they would be talking about trying to get above .500 for the first time this season on Nov. 12. That’s where they are, as Saturday’s meeting with the Sabres will provide them with an opportunity to have a winning record for the first time this season.
The Bruins started the season with a dreadful 3-7-0 record that landed them at the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference. Since then, they’ve rattled off four straight wins en route to evening their record at 7-7-0. While they’ve enjoyed their run of late, they’re far from satisfied with being 11th in the conference. Just ask Dennis Seidenberg.
“We’re not out of it yet,” the defenseman said after the team’s morning skate. “We have to keep climbing and we have to keep going. We’re only .500 right now, and we don’t want to be .500. We want to be on top of the league or on top of the division, so today’s a very important game.”
|11.12.11 at 11:52 am ET|
After taking part in the team’s morning skate, forward Rich Peverley was declared a game-time decision by coach Claude Julien for Saturday night’s game vs. the Sabres. Peverley, who is dealing with an undisclosed injury, has missed the Bruins’ last two games. If he is unable to go, Zach Hamill will play in his place. Hamill picked up an assist in Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the Oilers.
Daniel Paille, meanwhile, skated for the first time since getting hit in the face with a slapshot Monday against the Islanders. He will miss his second consecutive game, with Benoit Pouliot filling in for him on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
Defenseman Andrew Ference, who was declared out for the game by Julien on Friday, is “better today,” according to the coach. Julien said that Ference’s lower body injury is “definitely a day-to-day situation.” Steven Kampfer will play in place of Ference. It will be Kampfer’s third game of the season. In three career games against Buffalo, Kampfer has a goal and an assist.
Tim Thomas is expected to start for the Bruins. Both the Sabres and B’s have won four games in a row. A victory would put the 7-7-0 Bruins above .500 for the first time this season.
|11.11.11 at 4:20 pm ET|
It will be the first game of the season missed for Ference, who played 70 regular-season games last season. With Ference out, Steven Kampfer will play his third game of the season.
|11.11.11 at 9:12 am ET|
Before scoring two goals in Thursday’s 6-3 win over the Oilers, Brad Marchand had just one goal since his power play score on opening night against the Flyers.
There was some thought that maybe – just maybe – he was putting pressure on himself to produce after signing his two-year, $5 million contract extension in mid-September.
“I don’t want to change my game, change how I play,” Marchand said, before admitting he’s now a focal point of defenses. “It’s a little tougher out there. You have to face [expectations] but, for the most part, I just want to play the same way.”
The chances were certainly there throughout the first 13 games. But he had just two goals and five assists to show for his work.
On Thursday, those chances turned into goals, two to be exact, as Marchand took a little time to exhale.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “It was nice to get the monkey off the back it was definitely getting frustrating, missing a lot of opportunities, so it was nice to get a couple.
“I think the big thing was keep it a little more simple and getting pucks to the net. I was getting a lot of opportunities and they just weren’t going in. And if you keep pushing and keep getting opportunities then eventually something is going to go in and that’s what happened.”
Now, the Bruins are back at .500 at 7-7-0 and Marchand hopes his game will ride the momentum of the team’s four-game winning streak.
“Definitely, it’s nice to get back to .500 here and obviously we are a little ways from where we want to be and where we should be, but we’re definitely taking steps forward,” he said.
Does he feel he is out of a scoring slump?
“I don’t know it’s just one game, you have to keep going forward and keep things simple and hopefully they keep going in,” he said. “I just got a little luck out there. That’s how it goes sometimes. I went longer spurts last year without scoring goals and it’s just how it goes. Things go up and down. You can’t get too high or too low. It’s hockey.”
|11.11.11 at 8:25 am ET|
There’s no doubt that Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have All-Star careers ahead of them. By all accounts from NHL scouts, the pair are can’t miss talents that will help lead the Edmonton Oilers back to prominence.
Throw in Ryan Smyth, who had two goals Thursday, and you can see why their forward skill is envied by others around the league.
All three certainly showed their talent Thursday night.
But in the end, it was Tyler Seguin‘s Bruins who had the deeper roster and better defensemen as the B’s prevailed, 6-3.
Seguin already has a Stanley Cup ring.
Seguin was a second overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft while Hall and Nugent-Hopkins were the last two No. 1 overall picks. Seguin said it was fun taking it all in.
“Yeah, I mean it was fun,” the 19-year-old Seguin said, before referencing Nugent-Hopkins, who is a whopping one year younger than Seguin. “And then there were some ‘ you know, that new first overall kid ‘ I don’t know why I said kid; I’m a kid ‘ that was the first time I’d actually seen him play as well, and it’s cool seeing new talent coming into the league. They’re going to be a great team in a few years to come; they’ve got a lot of talent.” Read the rest of this entry »
|11.10.11 at 11:05 pm ET|
“Only a lower-body injury right now, and I don’t know the severity of it, so that’s all I can give you,” Julien said after the game.
Ference played only two shifts in the second period and totaled 9:22 of icetime on the night.