BOSTON — Leave it to Shawn Thornton to give rookie Steve Kampfer a bit of advice before his NHL debut and have it be about making a physical play.
“Actually, it was a lot better than I expected. Obviously I was nervous going into the first shift,” said Kampfer after the Bruins’ 5-2 win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden tonight. “But Shawn came up and talked to me. He’s like ‘go out there; try and get a hit your first shift.’ It was easy enough I guess.”
It took just 13 seconds for Kampfer to put Thornton’s advice to use and register an official hit in the NHL in the defensive zone on Blake Comeau. That hit came just a few seconds after he made contact with an Islanders player out near the red line (but the statistician didn’t give him credit for that one).
For most of the night, Kampfer looked like a grizzled veteran rather than a wide-eyed rookie. Playing in front of his parents and his agent, he finished up with 13:50 of ice time and two shots on goal. A couple times he jumped up in the play without putting the Bruins in a tough situation and he was credited with a blocked shot.
Most of his shifts came alongside veteran Dennis Seidenberg.
“I definitely thought [I was able to play like I did at Providence], with a few minor tweaks of different systems up here,” he said. “But other than that, I thought it allowed me to play my game and I could step up and join the rush.”