|02.11.11 at 1:01 pm ET|
When Steven Kampfer was a child growing up in Ann Arbor, Mich., he couldn’t get enough of the Red Wings. This weekend, he’ll play them twice as an opponent, as the Wings are in town Friday and the B’s will be in Detroit on Sunday.
“I grew up 40 minutes away from there. I always watched them,” Kampfer said Friday. “Bobby Probert was there, [Brendan] Shanahan, [Steve] Yzerman. Back in their heyday, that was the best thing in Detroit.”
Kampfer played at Joe Louis Arena at various stages of his hockey career. As a kid, he stepped onto the historic surface while playing in the Little Caesars (remember those commercials? Pizza pizza, indeed).
“Growing up playing in that rink, we played at the Joe when I was a kid,” Kampfer said. “It was always awesome walking out after practice and seeing them leave the rink.”
Kampfer would also play there in college for both the Great Lakes Invitational and annual contests vs. Michigan State. The 22-year-old is expecting 40 friends and relatives to be in attendence for the game, including his parents, who now live in Florida but are flying back to Michigan so they can return to the arena they once drove their son to for games and practices.
‘I grew up playing out of Joe Louis, so they want to go back and see me there,” Kampfer said. “I have my whole family there and a lot of friends and relatives there as well.’
Kampfer wore No. 5 in college, and it isn’t much of a shock as to why.
“I used to watch Nik Lidstrom and try to imitate him as much as I could when I was a kid,” he said. “Now to share the ice with him will be fun tonight, but you want to win a game as well.
“He just makes the game look easy. He’s so calm with the puck. Every time he touches it, he knows what he’s supposed to do. He’s always thinking one step ahead of the game. That’s what you want to do as a defenseman. You want to know what you’re going to do before you get the puck. That’s something he’s always done. It’s pretty special to watch.”
While Kampfer has embraced the Bruins, he can only hope those he once went to Wings games with have done the same. He’ll find out whether or not that’s the case in short order.
‘Playing the Wings, I think it will be fun [for them]. I think tonight will be kind of a stepping stone. We’ll see peoples’ true colors, if they’re really Bruins fans or still Wings fans.’
|02.11.11 at 11:45 am ET|
Bruins coach Claude Julien said that the team will be going with the same lineup Friday against the Red Wings as they had in Wednesday’s 8-6 win over the Canadiens. That means that as far as rookies go, Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron are in and second overall pick Tyler Seguin is out.
It will be the second consecutive game Seguin has been a healthy scratch, and technically the third time this season. He was scratched twice in December, one of which was the result of flu-like symptoms.
In 51 games this season, Seguin has eight goals and nine assists for 17 points and a plus-1 rating. He has averaged 12:18 of ice time, though he has played less than 10 minutes of the last four games.
|02.11.11 at 11:23 am ET|
Maybe there are no Max Pacioretty fans in the Bruins dressing room after all.
Such a development can’t be extremely shocking, as it was Pacioretty, the Connecticut-born Canadiens winger who scored the game-winning goal against the Bruins in overtime on Dec. 16 and proceeded to shove Zdeno Chara in celebration, Eric Byrnes style.
Pacioretty’s latest stunt pulled was in the scrum following Brad Marchand‘s late hit on James Wisniewski on Wednesday. With players coming to the scene, Steven Kampfer arrived only to be jumped by Pacioretty. Chara came to Kampfer’s aid and got tangled up with the 22-year-old Pacioretty.
‘I wasn’t expecting to get jumped from behind there,’ an agitated Kampfer told WEEI.com following the game.
There is more to the story when it comes to Kampfer and Pacioretty, as the two played college hockey at the University in 2007-08, Pacioretty’s lone season in Ann Arbor. Unlike the game’s goalie fight in which Tim Thomas and Carey Price ended up smiling at one another, there was no resolution between the two former teammates.
“I grew up with Max playing with him. We had some choice words for each other after the game, especially to our agent,” Kampfer said Friday. “We had some choice words shared back and forth through him, but it happens. It’s part of the game.
“It’s the way he plays the game. He plays hard. He’s a gritty player. He’s good. He plays his style and he forces guys to play to him. He gets under guys’ skin, and it’s good for Max.”
In that same scrum, Kampfer wound up tied up with Wisniewski. After a couple of punches were thrown, the two decided against squaring off at the expense of five minutes in the sin bin. Kampfer remains the lone Bruins blueliner to not have a fighting major this season.
“If you think that that’s going to happen any time soon, you might be waiting a little while here,” Kampfer said with a laugh. “I’d have to be pretty mad to throw. I’m not saying I won’t, but I’m not saying I’m planning to either.”
|02.11.11 at 1:33 am ET|
Winners of four of their last five, the Bruins (69 points) will host the Red Wings (70 points) at TD Garden on Friday. It will be the first of two the teams will play against one another in three days, as the Bruins will travel to Detroit to face the Wings for a Sunday matinee.
Starting for Detroit will be former University of Maine goaltender Jimmy Howard, who is one of five goaltenders with 26 wins this season. He was pulled halfway through Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Predators after allowing all four Nashville goals. Expect Tuukka Rask to start for the B’s after he didn’t participate in Friday’s optional skate.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The Bruins are 15-10-3 in home games (14-10-3 at TD Garden) and have won three of their last four at the Garden. Their most recent was Wednesday’s high-scoring penalty fest against the Canadiens, an 8-6 victory.
– The Red Wings are 16-8-2 on the road this season. They lost their most recent road game, getting blanked, 3-0, in Nashville on Feb. 5.
– Nathan Horton is coming off the first five-point night of his career, as he had a goal and four assists Wednesday vs. the Habs. His five points were more than he had in his previous 13 contests.
– Brad Marchand has a plus-25 rating on the season, putting him behind only Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros for the league lead. The only other forward in the top five is Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler, whose plus-23 puts him in a tie for fifth.
– The Bruins got a power-play goal from Michael Ryder on Wednesday, but their power play is still struggling to produce. Ryder’s tally was the first strike with a man advantage for the Bruins in six games, and also the first since Marc Savard went down on Jan. 22 in Colorado.
STORLYINES GOING IN
– Despite being second in the Western Conference, the Red Wings haven’t exactly been tearing it up of late. They have lost three of their last four contests and are 5-6-1 over their last 12 games.
– The last three games and the coming two against the Red Wings have made for the Bruins’ most difficult five-game stretch in their schedule, and so far they have to be pleased with how they’ve fared. With slugfest wins over the Stars and Canadiens and a tough 1-0 loss to the Sharks, they are 2-1-0 so far.
– After a lot of fighting on Wednesday, Micky Ward will drop a ceremonial first puck prior to Friday’s game. In other pre-game news, we’ll keep an eye (or ear) on whether the revamped hip-hop warmup music selected by Johnny Boychuk sticks. The team skated out to Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Black and Yellow’ rather than Metallica’s cover of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ on Wednesday.
|02.10.11 at 4:11 pm ET|
Lowell native and former junior welterweight boxer Micky Ward will drop the ceremonial first puck on Friday when the Bruins host the Red Wings at TD Garden. It’s unlikely the Bruins and Wings will be able to recreate the 192-penalty minute showing of Wednesday’s 8-6 B’s win, so Ward’s presence will have to make up it.
Ward went 38-13 as a professional boxer after winning three New England Golden Gloves as an amateur. The Academy Award-nominated movie “The Fighter” was based on his life, with Mark Wahlberg portraying Ward in the film.
|02.10.11 at 4:03 pm ET|
Bruins forward Nathan Horton joined Dale and Holley on Wednesday, discussing Wednesday’s wild victory over the Canadiens and the unusual equipment tidbit that aided his five-point effort.
The Bruins and Habs combined for 192 penalty minutes in an 8-6 Bruins win. It joined the likes of last week’s win over the Stars and Dec. 23’s victory over the Thrashers as games in which the Bruins stood up for one another throughout the night.
“It’s crazy,” Horton, who played his entire career for the Panthers before being traded to Boston in June, said. “I’ve never been involved in games like these where everybody’s got each other’s back. It’s great to be on a team like this and be on the ice. You know that your teammates are going to stick up for you. That’s what you want and that’s what you need.”
Horton, who had been slumping after a fast start to the season, had joked to Tyler Seguin prior to the All-Star break that the rookie should bring him back some sticks to help him. While players had a laugh over the comment, Horton wasn’t kidding when it came to getting his hands on some new sticks.
Horton and a friend went to a local hockey store, and the winger, used to having sticks sent to him, bought sticks off a rack and still had the price tag on his when he scored a goal and had four assists Wednesday.
“I said at the All-Star break I was going to go find a curve and that hopefully something would work,” Horton said. “I’m not even sure of the pro shop’s name, but I picked up a whole bunch of sticks, and that’s one of the sticks I used last night in the game. I’ve got one left of the same one and now I’m going to have to go searching for them again.
“When I went in with my friend, I was saying it was for him. He played hockey, too, so [I said] we were picking out sticks for him.”
The 25-year-old winger now has 14 goals and 21 assists for 35 points in his first season with the Bruins.
|02.10.11 at 2:43 pm ET|
If anyone on twitter isn’t following Down Goes Brown (@downgoesbrown), not only are they missing out on very amusing snarky commentary on the NHL, but they will have also missed out on perhaps an amusing stat regarding Tim Thomas and his MVP campaign. Check out this nugget, which emerged Thursday in wake of Thomas’ goalie fight with Carey Price Wednesday:
Thomas is a serious Hart candidate, though the six goals he allowed Wednesday dent his chances. Even so, his current .942 save percentage would surpass Dominik Hasek’s .937 in 1998-99 as the best since the stat began being recorded.
As for the second half of this interesting development, DGB tweets that the other Hart winner to have a fighting major in the last 10 years was one Joe Thornton, who fought Tim Gleason in 2005-06.
Only six goaltenders have been named MVP of the league, but it seems a Hart winner dropping the gloves these days is just as rare. The spectacle that is Thomas’ season continues to grow.