Steven Kampfer suffered a left knee injury in the third period of the Bruins’ 2-1 loss to the Senators after colliding awkwardly with Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen. Kampfer left the ice without putting any weight on his left leg and did not return. After the game, Bruins coach Claude Julien said he did not know the extent of the injury yet, and that Kampfer would undergo an MRI on Friday.
Kampfer, who had 10 points and a plus-9 rating in 38 games last season, was in the midst of a battle with Matt Bartkowski to decide the team’s seventh defenseman to start the season. If Kampfer is out for any extended period of time, the job would presumably belong to Bartkowski. Julien refrained from declaring the battle over, though.
“I don’t know if this settles it,” Julien said. “We’ll find out tomorrow how severe it is. Is he going to be two months, or is he only going to be a few weeks? If he is [only a few weeks], it can still be a battle going on there.”
When asked about the play of the two in Thursday’s game, Julien seemed to imply that Kampfer had edged a little bit ahead in the battle.
“Actually, you know, I thought Kampfer was having a real good night, skating and moving the puck,” Julien said. “Bart is still there. There’s some things that I think he has to continue to work on. He’s got good size, he’s a solid skater, but every once in a while he gets caught with maybe not moving the puck quick enough. Those are just little things that he has to continue to work on. But having said that, I like both their games.”
For his part, Bartkowski said he wants to “earn this spot” and not win it “on account of someone getting hurt.” Depending on the severity of Kampfer’s injury, though, that might be exactly how he wins it.
Thomas not being tested much
Tim Thomas has now played two preseason games, and he has seen just 36 shots total. On Thursday night, he saw just 10 shots through the first two periods, with only one or two coming from quality scoring areas. The Senators did manage to tally 10 shots in the third, with two of them winding up in the back of the net — one on an in-close wrister by Daniel Alfredsson and one on a deflected shot from the point by David Rundblad.
Thomas said he doesn’t really have a preference when it comes to the number of shots he sees in the preseason.
“It’s good to get experience for both ways,” Thomas said. “I think you could, even when there’s not shots, you still get your practice out of games because you’re still moving and you’re still fighting through traffic to see the puck, to follow the pass and stuff like that. So when you’re not getting a lot of shots, you focus on some of the other stuff. So in a way it can be better, because when you’re getting a ton of shots, you don’t have time to worry about any technique.”
Julien said it would be nice for Thomas to be tested a little bit more, but that they can test him on their own, too.
“We can still get him the work in practice, so we can make up for it somewhere else down the road,” Julien said. “But you know, he needs to get into some games and get into some game situations.”
Thomas will get into one more game before next Thursday’s regular-season opener, as Julien said he will start the Bruins’ final preseason game against the Islanders on Saturday. Julien has yet to name his opening night starter and said he won’t until next week, but Thomas said that “with another week of practice, I’ll be right where I want to be.”
Julien not concerned about loss
Giving up two goals in the third period and losing a game the Bruins utterly dominated could be reason for concern, but Julien didn’t see it that way.
“Every team has its own agenda, and ours is to evaluate players right now. Theirs, they certainly cut their bench,” Julien said. “They went down to three lines and we hardly saw their fourth-line guys at all. I wasn’t about to do that, not when you’re evaluating players.”
While the Senators’ fourth-line forwards all ended up with less than 9:30 of ice time, everyone on the Bruins broke the 10-minute plateau.
“If you’re going to evaluate players, you need to play everybody,” Julien said. “Evaluating for us was more important than the end result. At the end of the day, you still come out of it, even though you lost, but you’re still the better team. Tonight we were the better team.”