It’s safe to say that Bruins rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer was up last night thinking about his NHL  debut. Kampfer said Thursday morning that he didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 a.m. as he readied himself for a moment he’s been waiting for all his life.
Kampfer is stepping in for the injured Mark Stuart , who is out four-to-six weeks with a broken hand and dislocated ring finger. Yet Kampfer, a right-handed puck-mover, is nothing like the bigger, tougher, left-handed-er (?) Stuart. He’s more or less a better fit to replace Matt Hunwick. The two players went to college together at Michigan, and spoke on Wednesday night.
“I talked to Matt last night. We had a good conversation,” Kampfer said. “It was funny, because I had watched some clips of him. I was telling him how [the Bruins] wanted me to watch him, see how he played, and did a couple of things.”
Kampfer isn’t assuming that just because he was called up that he’ll stay with the big club until Stuart returns from injury in January or February. The B’s have options with their young defensemen and Kampfer knows it.
“I don’t think it’s a long opportunity. I think it’s day by day,” Kampfer said. “That’s how you go about it. You’re still on a two-way, and they can send you down at any time. You’ve just got to play well every day and show you deserve to be here. That’s my goal, is to be able to play strong every day and make sure I earn a spot here.”
The 22-year-old was in the last group of cuts before the team departed for Belfast on Sept. 29. The team elected to bring former Ohio State blue liner Matt Bartkowski over Kampfer, but Claude Julien  said Thursday that they “could have flipped a coin” at the time.
The competition between the young defenders is a plus for an organization that hasn’t been able to carry a seventh defenseman since the trade of Hunwick. The kids know that someone could get the call at any time. They’re just using their time in the AHL to make sure it’s them when the time comes.
“We have a lot of good defensemen down in Providence. There’s a handful of guys that could have come up,” Kampfer said. “I was fortunate that I got the call, but at the same time, I have to prove why I’m here and I have to make sure that I’m helping this team win.”
Kampfer led all Providence defensemen with 16 points (3, 13) at the time of his call-up.
Kampfer said on Wednesday that he spoke to his mom immediately following his call-up and that she was scurrying to get tickets to Boston from Michigan. Turns out she had success, as both of Kampfer’s parents, as well as his agent (Alex Schall) will be in attendance for Kampfer’s NHL  debut.
His folks didn’t come out to Boston for the two rookie games, though they made two trips to Providence to see him play.