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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 2:22 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Boston's Kampfer happy with season debut

BOSTON – Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer came out of his regular-season debut with no issues Thursday night against Toronto.

The second-year rearguard had missed the Bruins' first six games with a knee injury that occurred during the preseason. In the win against the Maple Leafs, he logged 12:28 of ice time and recorded an assist.

"It's a nice feeling when you come off an injury and you can ease into a game like that and start feeling a little bit better," said Kampfer after the Bruins' morning skate today in preparation for tonight's game with San Jose at TD Garden. "It's been something that's gotten better every day, so I look forward to tonight."

In the third period, Kampfer and his knee passed the ultimate test – a big hit, partially leg-on-leg, at the blue line on the forecheck by Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul.

"I didn't really think anything of it," Kampfer said. "I think I was more admiring my pass and it was a good hit by him. There was nothing else in that. I was admiring my pass and I shouldn't be. And he got the better of me on that hit, so good for him."
 
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 1:01 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Thornton happy for Boston after Cup win

BOSTON – Joe Thornton is back in Boston to face the Bruins.

The perennial All-Star has been back many times since he was dealt to San Jose in November 2005, but this time things are a little different because for the first time in 39 years the Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"I enjoy it. I still have quite a few friends here and we usually get to stay the night, so it's nice," said Thornton about being back where he was drafted in 1997 and played his first seven NHL seasons. "I always love coming back. It's a great sports town and I have a lot of fond memories here."

Although most of the names and faces in black and gold have changed since Thornton's days on Causeway Street, he said he still keeps in touch with the training staff. And once he and the Sharks were knocked out of the playoffs by Vancouver in the Western Conference Final, Thornton said he backed the Eastern Conference representative while watching the Stanley Cup Final.

"I was actually cheering for them in the finals. You know after losing to Chicago [in 2010] and Chicago hoisting it up, and it would've been hard seeing Vancouver hoisting it," Thornton said. "So I was cheering for them and I've still got a lot of friends over there. So I was happy for them."

Thornton reached 1,000 NHL games played Friday night in New Jersey, and also scored his first goal against the Devils. Although he's a veteran, it wasn't that long ago that he was a teenager who was projected to be the player that would bring the Cup back to Boston. However, he says he never reflected on Boston's triumph that way.

"It's so long ago, you're just so consumed with what you've got to do in San Jose, there's no ‘what ifs,'" he said.
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 12:20 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Sharks hope for more momentum after snapping skid

BOSTON – Despite getting in late after winning a shootout in New Jersey last night, the San Jose Sharks showed up at TD Garden this morning for an optional skate.

Some players took the ice, while others opted for an off-ice workout. To a man, however, the players were all in a better frame of mind since the Sharks snapped a three-game losing streak.
   
"A win makes you feel a little better than a loss. It doesn't matter how you get it, where you get it," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, whose team takes on the Boston Bruins tonight. "Guys feel a little bit better about themselves. The fact that we were able to stick with it an come back is rewarding as well. But the task ahead of us just gets tougher tonight. We know, obviously, how strong this team is, how well they play at home and we'll have our hands full."
   
The Sharks' win against the Devils came with a cost, as forward Torrey Mitchell was injured in the first period. McLellan ruled the winger out for tonight with an upper-body injury. Andrew Desjardins, a healthy scratch in New Jersey, is the top candidate to fill Mitchell's spot.
   
The Sharks might also feature a change on defense, as Justin Braun was recalled from the Worcester (AHL) farm club.
   
"There are a couple of D-men who have struggled in our opinion the first two games. And we'll give [Braun] an opportunity to win a job," said McLellan, who also noted that Braun was cut after a strong training camp because of the Sharks' depth not his performance.

Here is the Sharks' projected lineup:

Patrick Marleau - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Ryan Clowe - Logan Couture - Martin Havlat
Andrew Desjardins - Michal Handzus - Benn Ferriero
Jamie McGinn - Andrew Murray - Brad Winchester

Douglas Murray - Dan Boyle
Marc-Edourard Vlasic - Brent Burns
Colin White/Justin Demers - Justin Braun

Antti Niemi
Thomas Greiss
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Posted On Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 12:13 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins search for consistency, projected lineup

BOSTON -- The Bruins held an optional skate this morning in preparation for their game tonight with San Jose at TD Garden.
   
Considering their new line combinations produced six goals Thursday night in a win against Toronto, expect the Bruins to stick with what is working. The Bruins will also look for another strong start.

"Consistency is what we're looking for right now. We talked about that yesterday in practice and how we've got to kind of come in every day and try to focus on the right things and tonight's a good test for us," said head coach Claude Julien. "This is a team that plays well in this building, they have in the past, they've always given us good games and this is going to be a good challenge for us. So if we plan on building some consistency in our play, I think tonight's a good night to show that."
   
Adam McQuaid, who has been out with a neck injury for a week, skated but stayed on the ice longer than the rest of his teammates. Julien said he is still waiting for the doctors to tell him McQuaid is an option to play. McQuaid said he's feeling better.

Here's the Bruins' projected lineup:

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Nathan Horton
Benoit Pouliot - David Krejci - Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Steven Kampfer

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask
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Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 12:51 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kampfer ready for his shot to join Bruins' lineup

BOSTON -- The Bruins' back line should have a different look tonight against Toronto, as rookie Matt Bartkowski has been assigned to Providence (AHL) and Steven Kampfer has been cleared for contact.

Kampfer suffered a knee injury during the preseason and started skating on his own last week. This week he joined his teammates for practices and morning skates, including this morning's in preparation for the Leafs game.

With Adam McQuaid still out with a neck injury, Kampfer is the sixth defenseman. If he plays, it will be his season debut and his first NHL game since last March 31, which coincidentally was also against Toronto.

"It's been a while but I'm excited for it. I'm ready to go, I feel good. I'm just going to go out there, try and play my game, play simple and help this team get two points," said Kampfer, who last season as a first-year pro skated in 38 games and posted 5 goals, 10 points and a plus-9 rating.

Kampfer suffered a similar knee injury last April while on a conditioning assignment with Providence. He worked his way back into game shape in time for the Stanley Cup Final but was a healthy scratch for that entire series.

With his offensive abilities from the back end, Kampfer might be able to help the Bruins' slumping offense.

"If anything, he moves the puck well. And when he's confident, he's a guy who skates well, can carry the puck up the ice, so he's certainly got some experience behind him," coach Claude Julien said. "Watching him practice the last few days with us, he seems to be moving the puck well and seems to be ready to go here. So he's going to get his shot."

Kampfer hasn't just prepared by practicing on the ice. He has also gotten himself ready by doing some off-ice work.

"That was something I went through with some of our doctors was visualizing some game action here," he said. "So hopefully it picks up without a beat and that's the thing that'll help me out a lot is, you know, you go out there and you act like you're playing the game, you play the game through somebody else and try and figure out what they're doing and how you can try to make a better situation out of it."



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Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 12:42 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Krejci will be game-time decision for Bruins

BOSTON -- The Bruins' offense, which heads into tonight's game at TD Garden against Toronto ranked last in the league at just 1.67 goals scored per game, might get a boost from the return of David Krejci to active duty.

Krejci, who has missed the Bruins' last three games with a core injury he suffered in practice last week, took the morning skate today and will be a game-time decision, according to him and coach Claude Julien.

"I felt pretty good. I think it was a good morning skate and I feel pretty good about myself," Krejci said.

If Krejci plays, he might be centering a different line than the one he was playing with prior to the injury and dating all the way back to last season. During the morning skate, Krejci skated with Rich Peverley on his right wing and a rotation of Jordan Caron and Benoit Pouliot on the left side. A Krejci return would probably mean a healthy scratch for either Caron or Pouliot.

The new line is part of a juggling act done by Julien among his top three trios. Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Krejci's usually wingers, are also on different lines in the new alignment.

"We wanted to have a better start than we're having right now," Krejci said about his 2-4-0 team. "Coach decided to change the lineup a little bit. I think it's for the good. I think it's a little different look, but it's kind of exciting. So we'll see how the lines are going to look tonight, but I'm sure everybody's going to be playing hard and we're going to try to win the game tonight."

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Posted On Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 12:34 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineup for Bruins

Here's what the Boston Bruins' projected lineup could look like for Thursday night's game against the Toronto Mpale Leafs at TD Garden.

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Nathan Horton
Jordan Caron - Rich Peverley - Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Steven Kampfer

Center David Krejci (core) will be a game-time decision. He has missed three games. He took the morning skate at center between Peverley on right wing and a rotation of Caron and Pouliot on the left side.

Adam McQuaid (neck) is out.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 6:46 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Bruins' McQuaid unable to play against 'Canes

BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid, who missed Saturday night's game at Chicago, did not take the pregame skate with the club prior to Boston's game against Carolina at TD Garden.

McQuaid has been bothered by neck pain ever since he crashed into the end boards last week in the third period of a loss at the RBC Center. He practiced with the team Monday and took the morning skate, but was scratched for the game.

In McQuaid's place, rookie Matt Bartkowski again dressed as the sixth defenseman.

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 1:38 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Potential lineups for Bruins, Hurricanes

Here are what tonight's lineups for the Bruins and Hurricanes could look like, based on this morning's skates.

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - Tyler Seguin - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Rich Peverley
Jordan Caron - Chris Kelly - Benoit Pouliot
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Joe Corvo
Andrew Ference - Matt Bartkowski

Tuukka Rask was the first goalie off the ice this morning, meaning he'll be the starter. Tim Thomas will be the backup.

Adam McQuaid (neck) will be a game-time decision. If he plays, he'll play on the third pairing, likely in place of Bartkowski.

HURRICANES
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Eric Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Jiri Tlusty - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Jussi Jokinen - Jeff Skinner - Chad LaRose
Brendon Sutter - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Tim Gleason - Bryan Allen
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain
Jay Harrison - Tomas Kaberle

Cam Ward will start in goal, with Brian Boucher the backup.

For more on tonght's game, check out the preview here.
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Posted On Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 1:33 PM

By Matt Kalman -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Kaberle gets his ring

BOSTON – Tomas Kaberle enjoyed the best morning of any of the Carolina Hurricanes players today.
               
In a private meeting with Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, Kaberle received his Stanley Cup championship ring. Kaberle joined Boston after a trade with Toronto last February. He posted 1-8-9 totals in 24 regular-season games, then registered 11 assists in 25 postseason contests.
               
"It was really nice," said Kaberle about the ring after the morning skate at TD Garden. "I think whoever did it, they did a nice job. I’m sure everybody liked it and it's nice. It was a long season, but it was well worth it. It's a new season now, so you just have to look at it that way. The boys are going to be the enemy tonight."
               
When he thinks back about his time in Boston, one memory sticks out for Kaberle.
               
"I think the memories were great, when we had the second day [back in Boston], when we had the parade. There were so many people in the streets, it was an amazing feeling," he said.
               
Kaberle left the Bruins as an unrestricted free agent in July. The Bruins tried to retain his services, but the Hurricanes came forward with a better offer.
              
"At the end of the day, Carolina was the most interested in me and I felt like it was a good decision," he explained. "My brother [Frantisek] helped me as well. He played here before and he only said good things about the Carolina organization and the teammates. So that made it even easier for me."
               
Carolina head coach Paul Maurice had no worries that a return to Boston would hinder Kaberle's effectiveness on the ice.
               
"He's a pretty even-keel guy, and has a lot of experience and patience," said Maurice. "And if there is some emotion, he's earned it. Good for him. He should be somewhat overwhelmed by getting a Stanley Cup ring and his part in it, and I'm happy for him."
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