Despite not even playing, Steven Kampfer was a popular topic Sunday. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., Kampfer was expecting upwards of 40 people to attend Sunday’s game against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. His parents even flew in from Florida.
While friends and family bought tickets to see Kampfer play at the arena he once attended as a fan, the 22-year-old rookie was scratched for the game as a result of recent struggles. Kampfer touched on the surprise scratch prior to Tuesday’s game.
“It was for good reason,” Kampfer said of Claude Julien ‘s decision. “I wasn’t happy with my game [either]. It’s to help me out in the long run. One game is not going to hurt with me sitting out, so I got a good perspective on sitting out and watching the game.”
Kampfer was driving to Detroit from Ann Arbor with his parents on Saturday when he was notified that he would not be playing. He then had the undesirable task of notifying his family and friends via text that he was out of the lineup.
“Obviously you’re disappointed and you want to play,” Kampfer said of his initial reaction. “You want to play every game. At the same time, when I got to the rink the next morning and talked to Claude, it was a good meeting. It was one of those things where we both thought it was a good idea for me to sit back, learn some things, and maybe get a different perspective on the game. I definitely did. We talked this morning as well, so it was good.”
After impressing and being handed substantial minutes following his Dec. 9 NHL  debut, Kampfer’s play had dipped. With the likes of Mark Stuart  pushing to get in the lineup, the rookie said without hesitation that though he didn’t feel he was “getting comfortable,” the scratch was beneficial.
“I think you go through your ups and downs, and that’s when I think I got down on myself and wasn’t helping this team as much. I think to sit back and take a game and realize what I could do better for the long run will be very helpful for this team and myself,” he said. “More importantly, you want to learn because you want to make this team win.”
Kampfer expects to be in the lineup Tuesday night vs. the Maple Leafs.