BOSTON – It’s been almost a month since Steven Kampfer played in an NHL game.
The second-year defenseman will get back into action tonight for the Boston Bruins when they play host to the Los Angeles Kings at TD Garden without captain Zdeno Chara. Other than two conditioning games with Providence in the American Hockey League earlier this month, Kampfer has spent a lot of time practicing.
He’s only played in five games all season after he skated in 38 games for Boston and 22 for Providence last season as a first-year pro.
“That you’ve just got to take every day and get better,” said Kampfer about the biggest lesson this season has taught him when asked after Boston’s morning skate. “It’s a learning process when you come in as a seventh [defenseman]. They want you to learn things. So I think that’s been the main aspect of the year so far.”
So what has Kampfer learned from Day One of training camp until now?
“[I’m] moving my feet more, more confidence,” he said. “Definitely the skating aspect of the game has definitely helped. So I think using that confidence will help out.”
Coach Claude Julien wants Kampfer’s confidence level to be pretty high in order to produce the way he can, regardless of how many minutes he winds up playing. He has one assist in the five games he’s played, and has averaged a little less than 12 minutes of ice time before contest.
“A player like that just has to go out and he can’t be afraid of making mistakes, and you’ve heard every coach say that,” Julien said. “You just go out there and play, play with confidence and if you’re afraid of making a mistake, you’re going to make a mistake. … He’s worked really hard, we’ve done some extra with him in practice, kept him in the best shape possible and he’s had a couple of games in Providence, where they felt he played really well. So he just needs to bring that with him tonight … he’s a player that skates really well and he can move the puck when he feels good and he’s confident about his game, that’s what he brings to us.”