Kampfer/By S. Bradley

TAMPA — Rookie Steven Kampfer has just about reached the point where the Bruins could use him in a game if something happened to one of their six established defensemen.

Earlier this week, Kampfer, who suffered a knee injury April 9, declared he was ready to play. But head coach Claude Julien tamped down that enthusiasm.

After a long post-morning skate chat with Kampfer today at the St. Pete Times Forum, however, Julien was more optimistic Kampfer could soon get consideration for playing time.

“He’s pretty close. I just talked to him after practice there,” said Julien, whose team plays pivotal Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final tonight against Tampa Bay. “We had a little bit of a chat on the ice and talked about what he’s been through the last little while and how he felt and everything else. So I think he’s getting pretty close to that. I think if anything, pretty soon we’ll be able to say he’s a guy that could jump in if something happened.”