Bruins need Kampfer to come alive starting with Detroit homecoming

Kampfer/By S. Bradley

While has yet to pick up his first NHL fighting major and has accumulated just eight penalty minutes in 29 games since his promotion to Boston, a much younger Steven Kampfer had an eye for the rough stuff back in his early days in the Detroit area.

That’s why his first memory of attending a game at Joe Louis Arena, where the Bruins are scheduled to take on the Red Wings this afternoon, isn’t of a great goal or a sweet pass.

“I remember watching Joe Kocur, it must’ve been ’96, 97, the first shift of the game he went out and just beat somebody up. I’d have to say that’s definitely one of the memories I have,” said Kampfer after a recent practice.

“I remember always watching them on TV. I remember watching Steve Yzerman score the game-winning goal against St. Louis [in 1996]. Yeah, I grew up a Detroit fan and to go back and play them will be fun.”

The home-and-home rematch with the Wings would be more fun if Kampfer could get his game back in gear. After scoring four points over a four-game stretch during mid-to-late January, he now has just one assist over his last nine outings. No one’s expecting him to be the second coming of Paul Coffey in his first stint in the NHL at 22, but there’s a semblance of offensive punch he’s supposed to provide the Bruins in order to justify his slot in the lineup.

Obviously, playing on Boston’s top pair alongside Zdeno Chara most shifts every night has taxed Kampfer a bit in the Bruins’ zone. But whether it’s at full strength or on the power play, Kampfer, who has totaled nine points (four goals) on the season, has to find a way to either squeeze in more points, or at least do more of what he was doing early on to push the puck across a couple lines and make things happen.

When he was a kid, Kampfer always wanted to leave “The Joe” on a victorious note. Today that desire should be even greater and he could have a hand in making a triumphant exit occur.

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