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Kampfer Nervous, but Excited for Debut

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
There's a kind of synergy to it.

Steve Kampfer made his TD Garden debut during the B's rookie games with the New York Islanders prospects during this season's training camp

Tonight the former Michigan Wolverine will make his NHL debut against Long Island's big league hockey team.

"Yeah, we played the Islanders at home," said Kampfer with a smile after practice on Wednesday. "It was exciting to make your debut against the Islanders and, I guess, play them again.

"It's fun."

The Bruins certainly hope it will be fun, as the Black & Gold come into the game having earned points in their last four games and with an overall record of 15-8-3. The Islanders have lost their last three and come in 5-15-5.

But no matter the outcome, Kampfer is sure to remember everything about his day and recalled the phone call that had him packing up and heading up I-95 from Providence.

"I got the call [Tuesday] night after the game," he said. "It was pretty exciting. You know, your first call is always fun.

"[Thursday] morning I went to the rink and packed up, talked to [Providence Head Coach Rob] Murray and [Assistant Coach] Bruce [Cassidy] there for a little bit and then drove up.

"I got here a couple hours before practice-just didn't want to be late on the first day."

And Kampfer enjoyed his first major league practice since he was returned to Providence during training camp.

"It was fun," he said. "It was up tempo.

"Guys were moving the puck pretty well -- just trying to get ready for New York tomorrow."

On the way to Boston, Kampfer mused over the advice Coach Murray had given him.

"He just said keep playing my game," said the young blueliner. "He said, 'That's the reason you got called up, just keep playing that way. Keep you confidence up and hopefully we don't see you again.'"

There's a good chance that the P-Bruins won't see Kampfer for quite a while. Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli released a statement about injured defenseman Mark Stuart.

"Mark sustained a fracture to the 4th metacarpal of his right hand (ring finger) and dislocated his 4th metacarpal phlangeal joint. He was evaluated by Dr. Matt Leibman at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and is expected to miss approximately 4-6 weeks," read the statement.

No matter the cause, however, Kampfer sounded like a man who is ready to take advantage of his opportunity.

"You know, I thought I had a really good camp. It was exciting, but at the same time, I knew there was a possibility that I was going to go down, and my whole goal was just to go down and start off strong and play well," said Kampfer, who said he tried to maintain his NHL level of play in the AHL. "I thought my confidence was really going high and I just wanted to keep that momentum going as soon as the season started down in Providence.

Like every boy who ties on a pair of hockey skates, Kampfer has been waiting for tonight for a long, long time.

"I've been waiting for that day since I was four years old when I first starting playing hockey," he said. "You always dream of playing in the National Hockey League, so [it] will be a special day.

"I'm obviously nervous but excited at the same time," added Kampfer. "But I think I'd be scared if I wasn't nervous just because, you know, it's something you've worked hard for your whole life and now that it's here, you want to make sure you're playing well."
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