BOSTON – With just seven days until opening night against the Flyers, many of the Bruins’ roster spots have been solidified. Against the Ottawa Senators Thursday night at TD Garden, some, like rookies Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski and veteran Chris Clark (on a tryout basis) were battling for the final few spots to start the 2011-12 season.
Unfortunately for Steven Kampfer, his chance to make a good impression before opening night might have had an abrupt end.
“It’s always hard to see one of your guys go down and being hurt,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “Obviously we don’t know how serious it is or not, but hopefully he’s going to be ok.”
Midway through the third period of the Sens’ 2-1 win, Kampfer went down with an injury to his left knee after a hit from Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen, and did not return. The former Michigan Wolverine will be evaluated further tomorrow and his status for the preseason finale Saturday against the Islanders in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is still unknown.
“He suffered a knee injury. Left knee,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien about Kampfer’s injury. “And that’s basically all we have right now for specific details. He’s going to have an MRI tomorrow so we’ll find out a little more on his condition.”
After splitting time between Providence and Boston last year, Kampfer was considered to be one of the favorites – along with Bartkowski – as the Bruins’ seventh defenseman. That battle between Kampfer and Bartkowski has taken a little bit of the hit after Thursday.
Certainly, it’s not how Julien envisioned that battle to end, but not all is lost.
Both Kampfer and Bartkowski played a solid game against Ottawa and were really pushing each other for that seventh blue-line spot. While nothing is etched in stone on Kampfer’s status, Bartkowski now has to be considered as the favorite to solidify that seventh defensive spot.
“They were both pretty good tonight,” Julien said about Kampfer’s and Bartkowski’s performances against the Sens.
“I thought Kampfer was having a real good game skating and moving the puck and Bart is still there. There’s still some things that I think he has to work on and he’s got good size – he’s a solid skater – but every once in a while he gets caught not moving the puck quick enough and those are just some of the little things that he has to continue to work on. But having said that I liked bot their games.”
Despite fighting for that final spot, Bartkowski still felt bad for his fellow friend and teammate when he went down.
“Obviously he’s a friend of mine so I don’t want to see him get hurt,” Bartkowski said. “I want to earn this spot and I don’t want it to be an account of someone getting hurt.”
Whatever happens with Kampfer’s MRI on Friday, Julien and company will go about that battle for the seventh defensive spot as planned.
“We’ll find out tomorrow how severe it is and if it’s something where he [Kampfer] is out for a two months or if it’s something where he’ll only be out for a few weeks,” Julien said. “And if he is then it can still be a battle going on there.”