BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer is set to make his NHL debut tonight when the Bruins host the Islanders at TD Garden. Kampfer -- who the Bruins are hoping brings some speed and puck mobility from the back end -- was beaming Thursday morning despite the fact he had minimal sleep thanks to being so excited for the big moment tonight. Thankfully an old friend and teammate was there for him via phone Wednesday night to calm his nerves.
“I talked to Matt [Hunwick] last night,” Kampfer told the media Thursday morning. “I was watching clips on him. I was telling him that they wanted me to watch him and see how he played. We both wished each other the best of luck and it was good.”
Hunwick who was traded by the Bruins to Colorado (for prospect Colby Cohen) November 29, played with Kampfer in his senior season (2006-07) at Michigan when Kampfer was a freshman. Hunwick did his best to be there for Kampfer this past training camp and was happy to do so on the eve of the 22 year-old’s first NHL game.
“I knew him from my senior season when he was a freshman and he was a good player, you could tell right away and a good kid too,” Hunwick told ESPNBoston.com Thursday afternoon from Atlanta where his new team the Avalanche will play the Thrashers tomorrow night. “He’s a great puck-mover with good vision and poise back there and I think it’s great that he is getting this opportunity. I hope he’s able to stick there in Boston.”
Kampfer though knows that the opportunity he has now isn’t set in stone and he can’t take anything for granted despite the fact that the guy he is replacing, Mark Stuart, is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand.
“I don’t think it’s a long opportunity. I think it’s day by day,” said Kampfer who led all Providence Bruins defensemen with 16 points when he was recalled Wednesday. “That’s how you go about it. You’re still on a two-way, and they can send you down at any time. You’ve just got to play well every day and show you deserve to be here. That’s my goal, is to be able to play strong every day and make sure I earn a spot here.”