Bruins

Bruins' Steven Kampfer opts out of NHL Return to Play over family health concerns

Bruins' Steven Kampfer opts out of NHL Return to Play over family health concerns

The Bruins weren’t expecting any of their core group to opt out of the NHL’s Return to Play plan when it begins with Monday’s start to training camp.

But they did lose one player who likely would have been invited as a depth piece when defenseman Steve Kampfer announced he was opting out of playing this summer over family health concerns.

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The Bruins defenseman was one of a handful of players including Sven Baertschi, Roman Polak and Travis Hamonic who decided not to play in this summer’s postseason while the COVID-19 global pandemic is still hitting North America with full force.

Kampfer made the announcement on his Twitter account on Saturday night as the Bruins released their 33-player roster for training camp that includes 29 skaters and four goaltenders. Here’s the entirety of Kampfer’s statement that centers around a congenital heart defect shared by both his wife and his one-year-old son that could create complications were they to contract COVID-19.

“This was one of the hardest decisions that I’ve ever had to make,” said Kampfer. “We have taken [COVID-19] very seriously. Family will always be my priority.”

Kampfer played in 10 games for Boston this season as a spare defenseman for the first half of the regular season, but had been playing in the AHL with the P-Bruins in the months leading up to the regular season going on pause in mid-March. Kampfer had three goals and nine points in 22 games for Providence after registering a pair of assists in Boston amid sporadic playing time this year.

Last season Kampfer played in 35 games for the Bruins as a seventh D-man and scored an unforgettable goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final while suiting up for three games during the playoffs last spring.

The rest of the Bruins roster for training camp had no surprises with a mix of the group that won the Presidents' Trophy for the 2019-20 season along with prospects like Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, Zach Senyshyn, Trent Frederic and Jakub Zboril who could give the Black and Gold some youthful punch this summer.

Here’s the roster that’s expected to take the ice on Monday when training camp begins for the B’s at Warrior Ice Arena:

Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Sean Kuraly, Karson Kuhlman, Par Lindholm, Brad Marchand, Joakim Nordstrom, David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie, Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Chris Wagner

Defensemen: Brandon Carlo, Zdeno Chara, Connor Clifton, Matt Grzelcyk, Torey Krug, Jeremy Lauzon, Charlie McAvoy, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril

Goaltenders: Jaroslav Halak, Max Lagace, Tuukka Rask, Dan Vladar

Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

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Providence Bruins create award dedicated to memory of Colby Cave

Four months after the tragic death of Colby Cave, the Providence Bruins are taking action to ensure his legacy will not be forgotten.

Cave was just 25 years old when he died in April after suffering a brain bleed.

But now the Providence Bruins have partnered with the Cave Family and the Boston Bruins Foundation to create the Colby Cave Memorial Award to honor his commitment to helping those in need. The award will be presented each season to a deserving Providence Bruins player for their dedication to the community and charitable organizations. 

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“The Colby Cave Memorial Award is a special way to honor and remember Colby for his leadership qualities and humanitarian efforts,” said Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney in a statement. “Driven and committed to be an NHL player, Colby was also uniquely unselfish with teammates and anyone that needed help! Emily, the Cave Family and the entire Hockey World lost a great person who was beloved by everyone that was fortunate enough to spend time with Colby Cave.”

"From the first day he stepped into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to the day he left for the NHL, Colby Cave inspired each and every one of us with his diligence, selflessness and compassion,” added Providence head coach Jay Leach. “Always the first to help, both with his teammates, and throughout our community, Colby set the precedent that we aspire to uphold."

Cave signed with the Bruins as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and spent several years in Providence where he played alongside Bruins like Jake DeBrusk (also a teammate of Cave's in juniors), Sean Kuraly, Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and others. 

In 239 games with the P-Bruins, Cave often wore the 'A' as the team's assistant captain, racking up 43 goals and 115 points in parts of five seasons. He made his Boston debut in December 2017 and appeared in 23 games with the Bruins over two seasons, but when the team attempted to return him back to Providence in January 2019, he was claimed on waivers by the Oilers, with whom he played 44 games over the last two seasons.

Fans who would like to honor Colby’s memory can do so by donating at BostonBruins.com/Community/Foundation-Donations. The fund’s proceeds go toward community programs with an emphasis on mental health initiatives and providing access to sports for underprivileged children.

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

NHL Playoffs: Bruins make lineup changes for Game 1; David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask ready to go

The Bruins will have a full, healthy group when they take the ice for Game 1 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night at the Toronto bubble at Scotiabank Arena.

David Pastrnak and Tuukka Rask were both part of an optional morning skate on Tuesday and Rask will get the start against the Hurricanes after posting a gaudy .955 save percentage against them in the Eastern Conference Final a little over a year ago. Otherwise, it will be rugged rookie D-man Jeremy Lauzon getting the starting nod for the Bruins on the bottom pairing and Connor Clifton coming out of the lineup after he played well in last weekend’s round-robin finale vs. Washington.

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On Monday, the Bruins readied for the “real games” by watching a video that featured all of the coaches', players' and staff’s families wishing the Bruins well from back home, and sending the message that “we are all in it” from Boston. Now that the glorified exhibition games of the round robin are over with, Cassidy said there’s a tangible note of excitement in the group as they ready for the first round.

This is exactly what the Bruins have been waiting five months for while staying sharp and in shape during a global pandemic.

"I think guys right now are pretty focused on the job at hand. That's Game 1 against Carolina,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think we've all been looking forward to this first playoff game. I think our guys are excited.

“It’s the way we played at the end of the year [with Lauzon] and we’re not burying that part of the season. Clifton played [a round robin game] and Johnny Moore one game, so we probably made that decision back in training camp with the way we allotted the ice time. At the end of the day if we need to make a switch in the lineup then we will, but we felt that gives us the best balance in our lineup of size and puck-moving ability.”

For the Carolina Hurricanes, they are expected to get Dougie Hamilton back after having not played for the last seven months following a broken leg suffered in the middle of January.

With Lauzon in the lineup and the Bruins settling into their middle-6 lines with Ondrej Kase and Anders Bjork on the right side, here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings set to go up against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night:

FORWARD LINES

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk David Krejci Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie Charlie Coyle Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom Sean Kuraly Chris Wagner

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS

Zdeno Chara Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk Jeremy Lauzon

GOALTENDER

Tuukka Rask