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."