January 15, 2011

Broken beak bad news for Kampfer, Bruins

by Jesse Connolly

B's defenseman Steve Kampfer skates off after taking a high stick early in the second period. (Getty)

BOSTON -- With three rookies patrolling the Bruins blueline, Boston was in for enough of a challenge against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.

 Things got even tougher when Steve Kampfer was whacked by an inadvertent high-stick by teammate Zdeno Chara, knocking the rookie d-man out of action and forcing the B's to play the better part of two periods with just five defensemen.

 "Yeah, we just found out," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked for an update on Kampfer. "He went to the hospital and he’s got a broken nose, so they were just making sure they were checking up on everything and right now that’s what we’ve found out from them checking him out. He’s got the broken nose."

 The incident, which happened in the opening minute of the second period, was mistakenly deemed by the referees to be a double-minor penalty on Pens forward Pascal Dupuis. Dupuis and Chara got locked up with one another and Kampfer, skating by the two along the boards, bore the brunt of the 6-foot-9 blueliner's blade.

 "I think it might have been my stick that got him, I’m not 100 percent sure but obviously it was a battle and then my stick got high and hit 'Stevey'," Chara said, as Kampfer immediately fell to the ice and began bleeding profusely. "It was just an unfortunate play."

 Depending on the severity, Kampfer's absence could be a major momentum killer for the B's. The U. of Michigan product had five points and a plus-8 rating in his last nine games, giving Boston the puck-moving presence they've so sorely needed on their blueline.

 "He’s been playing really well," Chara said of Kampfer, his partner on the B's top pairing in recent games.  "He’s been really solid for us. Obviously for the young guys playing the game the way he’s playing, it’s a big impact. Hopefully he’ll be ok."

 Julien thought his troops handled the adversity well, as each of the five remaining d-men were forced to make up for Kampfer's lost minutes.

 "We got down to five and obviously, like you say, we’re getting a little young back there, but I thought the guys handled it well," said Julien. "Again, we were in the game right until the end and those guys did a good job of holding the fort and so I don’t think we have any reason to be disappointed in our backend the way they handled that situation."

As for a prognosis on the 22-year-old defenseman, the B's bench boss was unsure.

 "Yeah I mean we just got that, I’m giving you guys the report that we just got," Julien said at his post-game press conference.

 "He’s not back yet and we were told he had a broken nose, so we’re going to find out more of the severity of it and what it’s going to consist of and so on and so forth.  And probably be able to give you guys as much as we can tomorrow."