|Mark Stuart: ‘I’m not packing my bags yet’||02.12.11 at 1:23 pm ET|
WILMINGTON –Mark Stuart entered the season as an important part of the Bruins’ blue line, and a guy who seemed a fit to one day wear a letter other than “B” on his jersey. After missing the 18 games with a fractured hand a dislocated finger, thing have been much different. With the emergence of Steven Kampfer and solid play of Adam McQuaid, Stuart knew while on the mend that his spot in the lineup would not be guaranteed.
“You have to earn your way back,” Stuart said on Jan. 13. “I don’t care who you are. … Guys are playing well. It would probably be different if the team was on a downswing and they were looking to change things up.”
Unfortunately for Stuart, his prediction was dead-on, as he has played in just three games since returning to the lineup on Jan. 17. A free agent at the end of the season, he has been a healthy scratch for the last eight games entering Sunday’s contest vs. the Red Wings in Detroit.
“I hoped it wouldn’t be this long,” Stuart said in a conversation with WEEI.com Saturday, “but that’s just the way it’s gone.”
Stuart has had to spend plenty of time recovering from injuries, and went down with his injury on Dec. 7 against the Sabres, it was just another in a long series for the blueliner. Last season, hand, finger, and sternum injuries cost him a combined 35 games.
Despite knowing what it’s like to watch from the press box, doing so when you’re healthy enough to be on the ice is even tougher.
“It’s probably harder when you could be out there,” Stuart said. “On the other hand, you’re healthy, too,” Stuart said, knocking on his wooden stall. “It’s obviously a lot better to be healthy, but it’s almost harder watching a game when you could be out there.”
As for what his future may hold, it’s hard to imagine someone on a one-year deal being happy with not being a healthy scratch. His name has been tossed around in trade rumors, with some speculating on whether he could be moved at the trade deadline. General manager Peter Chiarelli recently declined comment on what the market has been for Stuart, but if the defenseman had his way, he’d be playing in the same sweater he’s always worn.
“I would love to [stay] here. I’ve been here my whole career, and I love it here,” Stuart said. “There’s always rumors, but I’m not packing my bags yet or subletting my apartment until I get the call.”
|Michigan native Steven Kampfer ready for a Red Wings-filled weekend||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.”
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.”
|Bruins return to practice after All-Star break||01.31.11 at 2:21 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — After four days off for the All-Star break, the Bruins returned to Ristuccia Arena in anticipation of Tuesday night’s tilt against the Hurricanes in Carolina. The upcoming games in the schedule are no picnic, as they’ll face the Stars, Sharks and Canadiens before playing the Red Wings twice.
The lines looked the same as they did prior to the break. They are as follows:
Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas were absent, as they stayed in Raleigh following this weekend’s All-Star festivities.
A couple of notes regarding Bruins youngsters: Steven Kampfer is back to wearing a half-shield, while Tyler Seguin turns 19 today. Check back for more following practice.
|Gameday Notes: Thomas expected to start||01.26.11 at 1:18 pm ET|
Tim Thomas was the first Bruins goaltender off the ice at the team’s morning skate, an indication that he will be the starting goalie against the Panthers on Wednesday. Thomas, who was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week last week, took a 2-0 loss to the Kings Monday night in Los Angeles.
Thomas is 23-5-6 on the season and leads the league with a .945 save percentage, 1.83 goals against average. He is tied with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist with seven shutouts.
While the goaltender for the night appears to be known, it isn’t so easy regarding Boston’s blue line. Mark Stuart has been a healthy scratch the last two games, and Claude Julien said following the skate that the team will make a game-time decision regarding who sits.
Here are some notes from the morning skate:
- The lines were similar to what they were Monday night:
- Marc Savard returned home to Peterborough, Ontario to rest, with Julien saying “that’s all you can do when you’ve got a concussion.” There remains no timetable on when the center might be able to rejoin the B’s.
With Savard out, Julien doesn’t feel the Bruins necessarily need to call a player up from Providence.
“Right now we’ve got 12 forwards and a lot of that will depend on management and the salary cap and all that stuff and whether is makes sense or not. So that’s probably going to be dealt with as we move on here but as we’re speaking right now, it’s no.”
Some have wondered whether this could mean a promotion for a former first-rounder in Zach Hamill or Joe Colborne, but given the team’s stability with capable centers in Seguin and Wheeler, it doesn’t seem the call-up options should be limited to centers.
- Steven Kampfer said he is not going to get surgery on his nose over the All-Star break after previously considering the procedure. Kampfer broke his nose last Saturday against the Penguins and has worn a full shield since. While his difficulty breathing had led to him considering surgery, he hopes that he will be able to lose the full shield when the team returns from the All-Star break next week.
Instead of surgery, the 22-year-old will return home to Michigan, where he plans on watching his alma mater take on Michigan St. at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. He’ll be there with some other former Wolverines, including Kings defenseman Jack Johnson.
- While Kampfer is making a name for himself on the ice, but if anyone wants to keep up with him off it, they can do so, as Kampfer is on twitter. While it’s pretty rare to see the B’s on twitter, @SteveKampfer47 says he has fun with it while not going too crazy. Twitter has definitely been used as a sounding board of sorts for professional athletes across all the major sports. Coyotes forward Paul Bissonette is probably the NHL’s equivalent of Chad Ochocinco.
- Brad Marchand, who has pretty much shocked the world (or greater Boston) with his 12 goals so far this season, earned the praise of teammates and his coach on Wednesday. Lucic noted that he saw his talents at the junior level and isn’t ultimately surprised by what he’s brought, while Julien is glad to see that the rookie has made offense a part of his game without the other areas suffering.
“I think he’s building confidence and knows that he can give a little bit more to his team as he gets more experience,” Julien said. “And I think the grit is there, it’s still there but yet productively he’s gotten better.”
- The Bruins All-Stars didn’t appear to be on the same page when it came to discussing the fantasy draft for the All-Star game. Tim Thomas said he’ll watch it from his hotel room — if his room gets VS. — while Zdeno Chara assumed the players had to be there.
|Post-morning-skate notes: Claude Julien doesn’t want a repeat of last Sabres meeting||01.20.11 at 1:12 pm ET|
With the Bruins seeing the return of Andrew Ference to the lineup on Thursday, Adam McQuaid isn’t necessarily the odd man out yet, so to speak.
McQuaid missed last Monday’s game with an undisclosed injury, with the team calling up Matt Bartkowski to play in his place. The medical staff still doesn’t feel that McQuaid is in tip-top shape, so Claude Julien isn’t yet ready to say that the 24-year-old will once again be relegated to life as a healthy scratch.
“If they keep playing the way they are, it’s going to be difficult [to make a choice],” Julien said. “There’s no doubt. It’s certainly not going to be an easy decision to make, and if they’re all playing well, I’ve seen situations where you alternate and make sure they’re all playing.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s not something you look forward to but it’s something that you have to deal with at times. Right now I think our back end’s been pretty good for us, and they all deserve to play.”
With Steven Kampfer considering surgery on his broken nose, Julien isn’t very surprised that the right-handed puck-mover has played through the discomfort he’s been experiencing. Kampfer broke his nose Saturday against the Penguins when Zdeno Chara got him in the face with his stick.
“It’s been getting a little better, but I think that there’s blood up there that has clogged up his sinuses and has made it hard for him to breathe, but he’s certainly playing through it, and that’s what we’re talking about [with guys playing through pain].
“We know what Kampfer brings to our team,” Julien added. “We haven’t got a lot of guys that are offensive minded and mobile defensemen like he is, and when you make a decision [on who to play], you make it based on that as well.”
Tuukka Rask is expected to start. Here are some other notes from the morning skate:
- The lines all looked the same for the Bruins on Thursday morning. They are as follows:
Ryder – Savard – Horton
Marchand – Bergeron – Recchi
Lucic – Krejci – Seguin
Wheeler – Campbell – Thornton
- This will be Blake Wheeler‘s third straight game on the “energy line.” While many would have expected the 24-year-old to be a top-9 forward, Julien said the emergence of Brad Marchand has allowed them to use Wheeler with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
“I think the fact that we put Marchand with [Patrice] Bergeron and that line was going well, we thought that Wheels is probably really similar to [Marchand] as far as his relentless forecheck and his good skating. I thought he’d be a good fit for that line and we’ve always liked that line since the beginning of the year and somehow without moving Marchand [back] we’re trying to keep it a lot of the same.”
Wheeler has 10 goals and 11 assists for 21 points this season. He picked up an assist on Campbell’s second-period goal on Monday.
- Julien is hoping to not see anything resembling a repeat of the B’s last meeting with the Sabres. The Bruins blew three different leads on Jan. 1 before losing, 7-6, in a shootout. Julien said the game was a shootout in more ways than one given the back-and-forth nature of the game, calling the contest “uncharacteristic of the way these two teams play each other.”
Luckily for the Bruins, Drew Stafford, who had a hat trick and scored in the shootout, will not play for Sabres tonight due to a groin injury.
On the season, the Bruins have gone 2-1-1 against the Sabres.
- Tyler Seguin, who has spent the last couple of games on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, doesn’t have a point over his last four games. Seguin and Krejci seem a natural fit for one another given their speed, and Julien said that he likes the rookie on the wing with Krejci in the middle.
Seguin is obviously in a more comfortable place than he was at the beginning of the year, and he’s had flashes of brilliance that he’s tried to sustain. Julien said Thursday that the second half of the season will be another challenge that the second overall pick will encounter.
“I think we still know there’s room for him to continue to improve. And you know, as we get closer to the end of the year, games get tougher and tougher and he’s got to learn to be able to battle in those circumstances and that’s what we expect from him,” Julien said. “His skill level is what it is, it’s great and it’s going to keep showing more and more as he progresses with experience.
“The one thing he hasn’t faced yet is that second half of the year where games mean so much to teams and that grinding part of it means more and more and he’s got to be able to battle through that.”
Seguin is 15th among rookies with 16 points this season.
|Steven Kampfer: Surgery on nose is a possibility||at 12:08 pm ET|
Bruins rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer, sporting stitches on his right nostril, said he will try to play with his broken nose for now. But Kampfer said surgery is a possibility if his breathing is affected. Kampfer left last Saturday’s game with a bloodied and broken nose when Zdeno Chara‘s stick became entangled with Pascal Dupuis and flew up and raked Kampfer across the face.
“They’re going to try and open up the airway, surgery or what it be,” Kampfer said. “Right now, we’re just trying to see if it pops open in the next couple of days with flushing it more but I’m optimistic that I don’t have to go to surgery because that’s the last thing you want to do but at the same time, I can breathe enough to get by. I think that’s the main issue right now is I can breathe, I can play and that’s what I’m going to try to do moving forward.
“I breathe mostly through my mouth when I play, anyway. I keep my mouth open the whole game. It’s not something that’s bothered me the whole time when I’ve played. But at the same time, it would be nice not to wake up with a cotton mouth every morning. It’s one of those things you’ve got to pray it opens up.”
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