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New B's: Colborne, Kampfer and Sauve

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- Last Friday, Providence's Dunkin' Donuts Center, the home of the American Hockey League's Bruins, turned into a giant time machine as Joe Colborne, Steve Kampfer and Maxime Sauve entered the world of professional hockey and gave fans in the Hub of Hockey a glimpse of the Black & Gold's future.

All three young men had a very big part of the Providence Bruins 3-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks.

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Hello, Steve Kampfer...
The 21-year-old Kampfer skated in 45 games for the University of Michigan this season, recording three goals, 23 assists (26 points) and 50 PIM. The Wolverines were recently defeated by Miami University (Ohio) in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Championship. Kampfer finished his senior season ranked third on the team in plus/minus with a +18 rating and fourth on the team in shots with 115.

Over four seasons with the Wolverines, Kampfer played in 147 games, registering 7-54-60 totals and 134 PIM and was named to the CCHA Championship All-Tournament Team in both his junior season and senior season. The 5’11, 197-pound native of Jackson, Mich. was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the fourth round (93rd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He was traded from Anaheim to Boston on March 2 in exchange for a conditional fourth round draft pick.

Kampfer is a little bit older than his compatriots and looked to be the most comfortable of the three, but said that he was fighting nerves at the onset.

"I have to say, the first couple shifts I was really nervous," said Kampfer. "Playing with Jeff [Penner helped with] slowing me down a little bit, and the talk on the bench, the guys were great.

"You know, I just tried to play simple and get the pucks out and get the pucks in."

Kampfer cycled through many of the most important shifts of the game.

"Yeah, I mean it’s good that I can play in all situations," said Steven. "Right now I’m just trying to play my best hockey and hopefully everything works out."

And despite noticing a difference in the skill and size of his opponents, Kampfer looked comfortable.

"I think the guys were a lot stronger than they were in college," said the defenseman. "That was something that I noticed.

"You go into the corner and I’m used to pushing a guy off the puck and these guys are big men and going into the corner, you got to be a lot stronger and that’s something I’ve got to work on."

Moving forward, Kampfer plans to keep his approach simple.

"I’m just trying to take it day-by-day and game-by-game," said the former Michigan Wolverine. "Joe and Max played a great game out there, two points each in their debut, so that was great for them, they’re both tremendous hockey players.

"We looking forward to tomorrow and the rest of the time we’re out here."

Sauve (photo: Alan Sullivan)
Bonjour Maxime Sauve...
The 19-year-old Sauve has spent the last three-plus seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, first with the Quebec Ramparts and most recently with Val d’Or Foreurs where he had a 13-22-35 line in 25 games. Last season with Val d’Or, he set career highs in all offensive categories after notching 27 goals and 49 assists for 76 points in 64 games.

The 6’1’’ 183 pound native of Boisbriand, Quebec, who was born in Tours, France, was originally drafted by the Bruins in the second round (47th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. His father, Jean-Francois played for the Buffalo Sabres and the Quebec Nordiques and had 65 goals and 138 assists in 290 career NHL games.

Sauve skated in three preseason games for the Bruins this year and had one goal and two assists.

With two goals, Sauve had the most obvious contribution to the P-B's victory on Friday.

"I felt very excited to play here and get the win," said Sauve when he spoke in front of the Baby B's locker room. "That's the goal."

Asked about his own thoughts as he began his professional career, Sauve admitted, "Yeah, a little bit nervous, but that’s the game."

Despite his two-goal performance, the soft-spoken Sauve had little more to say about his first foray. Asked what his plan going forward would be, Maxime said, "Just take it day-by-day with training and have fun with the guys."

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Howdy, Joe Colborne...
One of those guys was his center Colborne, who fed Sauve on both of the winger's goals.

"It’s fun to play with him. He’s a good feeder, a good player," said Sauve. "Really strong."

Colborne's strength and size are obvious assets, but so are his hands. In every case, Joe has put in long hours at the rink and weight room in order to better prepare for the pro game.

The 20-year-old Colborne skated in all 39 games with the University of Denver this year, earning 22-19-41 totals. He recently tallied a power play goal in the Pioneers’ 2-1 loss to the Rochester Institute of Technology in the East Regional semifinal of the NCAA Championship. He finished the season first on the team in power plays goals (11), first in total goals (22), tied for second in points (41) and second in shots (116). Colborne has played 79 games in two seasons with the Pioneers, registering 32 goals and 40 assists for 72 total points.

The Calgary, Alberta native was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (16th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

"I felt great," said Colborne. "I’ve been putting in some intense workouts for the past year to prepare for this...So it’ll be interesting, but for the first game I felt great."

What did Colborne think of the AHL game?

"It was definitely a learning experience," said Colborne. "It was great to get the win and great to get that first point pretty quick.

"That took a lot of the pressure off."

Like Sauve, Joe said that he was feeling some butterflies as he put on his P-Bruins Black & Gold.

"Definitely," said Colborne. "I had quite a bit of nerves there in warm-up and the first shift, but once you get the first check in, you kind of just go back to what I’ve been doing my whole life.

"It was everything I thought it would be."

The three new Bruins came as advertised, as well.

"Obviously Maxie had the two goals, and showed some real nice skill on both of them really. His breakaway speed to get away on the second goal and the nice handling on the first goal," said Providence head coach Rob Murray. "And Joe played well I thought. He probably played his best hockey in the third period. He won some puck battles on the wall.

"You know, the creativity’s going to be there with him, but it’s the little intangibles that you often hear Claude talk about in Boston-winning pucks along the walls and getting pucks to the net and the compete level. I thought it was there for him tonight for sure.

"And Steve Kampfer was outstanding on the backside," continued the B's AHL coach. "He plays with an edge.

"So all the guys that have come in have fit in well and are doing the job."

Assistant GM Don Sweeney purposefully tempered his enthusiasm, but was clearly happy with his new charges' work.

"It’s just one game," said the former NHL standout. "But I think, as I’ve always believed, maybe because I did it so many years ago that you get that leg up [when you get] an opportunity to play at this level, and an understanding of what it takes to turn pro.

"You’re playing against older, more mature guys that are trying to get to the same spot as you are-you know, that next level. I just think it accelerates the learning curve all the way around.

"These guys will, hopefully down the line if they do make it, will appreciate that and look back on it and say, 'This was a really good opportunity.' To all their credit, they did this right away. They all wanted to be here."
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