Bruins

Vatrano shows 'he wants to be in the lineup'

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Vatrano shows 'he wants to be in the lineup'

BOSTON – Frank Vatrano had been waiting and working all season for a chance at expanding his role. That finally arrived last weekend against the Maple Leafs.

The Bruins dropped a 4-1 decision to Toronto on Saturday night at TD Garden but it was arguably Vatrano’s best game of the season after replacing Jake DeBrusk in the lineup. Vatrano, 23, was given top-six minutes and power play time for the first time all season and he responded with Boston’s only goal and something much closer to the consistent 200-foot game that the Bruins want to see out of him.

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“He was good. [It was a] bounce-back game for him. He kind of showed us, and everyone, I assume, that he wants to be in the lineup every night,” said Bruce Cassidy of Vatrano, who has just the two goals in 12 games after a very sluggish start to the season. “He’s certainly a guy that’s had success in this league. We need him to play a certain way, and I thought he did [against the Leafs].

“He scores a goal we obviously needed him to, but he finished some checks, he blocked some shots. We want a 200-foot game, and if that’s what it entails from night to night, then that’s what we need out of him. He was definitely a positive.”

The goal arrived in the first period and kept the Bruins in the game. Vatrano also showed some nasty with a big early hit on Nikita Zaitsev that was one of the winger’s three hits and two blocked shots on the night. Clearly, Vatrano was fully engaged and pretty effective for the Black and Gold after being scratched on the Friday night loss in Toronto. He has two goals in his past three games played as the confidence begins to flow.

“When you’re getting shots and you’re getting points and goals, you obviously get a lot more confidence and there are some games this year where I thought I played a good solid game and I just wasn’t rewarded on the stat sheets,” said Vatrano. “So, hopefully, they start going in for me. When you score a goal you kinda get a little extra jump in your step. You try to have that extra jump all the time whether you’re scoring or not, but it’s obviously a little boost when you get a goal early.”

Now, the trick for Vatrano is to turn a couple of good games recently into a long stretch of steady production and consistent play that will keep him in the lineup. It could be a real factor for a Bruins team that needs some players up front to step up amid all the injuries. 

Kampfer excited for his second go-round with the Bruins

Kampfer excited for his second go-round with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- These days Steve Kampfer definitely looks a little bigger, a little stronger and a little older than the last time he suited up for the Black and Gold back in 2012.

That makes perfect sense, given that he’s about to turn 30 years old rather than the 20-something fresh out of the University of Michigan that he was during his last go-round with the B’s. But clearly, the Bruins liked enough about his game that they opted to snag him as the returning NHL-caliber defenseman in the Adam McQuaid deal with the Rangers just ahead of training camp.

Barring any injuries, the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Kampfer isn’t likely to start the season in Boston. It will be difficult for him to displace any of the D-men already earmarked for the Bruins roster, but he will provide some excellent organizational depth when the inevitable attrition arrives this season. Over the last six seasons Kampfer has racked up games of NHL experience for the Bruins, Wild, Panthers and Rangers, but actually had his best NHL season in Boston in 2010-11, when he totaled five goals and 10 points in 38 games for a team that eventually won the Stanley Cup.

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Since then, injuries have taken a bite out of his game and his stints with other NHL teams, so he’s looking for a nice, healthy stint with the Bruins organization.

“[I’ve had] a lot of injuries…a lot of injuries in between stops. I’ve had both knees done and I’ve had a few concussions, and I broke my hand last season, so I’ve spent a lot of time rehabbing and figuring out how to get my game back,” said Kampfer. “So it’s going to be nice to be healthy for once going into a season and hopefully that gets me out on the right foot.”

Injuries aside, Kampfer said he was just happy to be back in Boston among familiar faces, in an organization that saw something in him when they initially traded for him as a prospect of the Anaheim Ducks.

“It was a shock, but it was exciting at the same time,” said Kampfer, who came back to Boston with a 2019 fourth round pick and a conditional seventh-round pick in exchange for McQuaid. “To be able to come back to a place I’ve been before and where I’ve had some success, hopefully it’s the same thing this time around.

“It’s nice to walk into a room and pick up on relationships that you’ve had before and build on those, and it also makes it easier when you get on the ice since you know how other guys like to play.”

The puck-moving Kampfer will more than likely start the season in Providence barring something extraordinary happening with the NHL roster, but it stands to reason that he’s going to factor in wins and losses for the Bruins at some point this season.   

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Bergeron (back spasms) makes first on-ice appearance at Bruins camp

Bergeron (back spasms) makes first on-ice appearance at Bruins camp

BRIGHTON, Mass – A welcome sight for the Bruins finally arrived Friday morning as Patrice Bergeron hopped on the ice for the first time in training camp. Bergeron had been out with back spasms suffered in the days leading up to the opening of camp as he worked his way back from groin surgery. He's just started getting back onto the ice the past couple of days testing out a back that he admits still feels “a little stiff.”

Bergeron left the ice when practice with the team got going, and he continued to be absent from the camp sessions along with Jakub Lauko (undisclosed), Sean Kuraly (lower body) and Ryan Fitzgerald (lower body).

Still, the fact Bergeron, 33, is slowly ramping things up is a good sign as the Bruins center still points toward the Oct. 3 season opener as the ultimate day when he really needs to be back to 100 percent.

“It felt great to be back on the ice and just slowly ramping it up. It’s always good to be touching the ice for sure,” said Bergeron, who said his preference continues to be getting into a preseason game if possible. “The goal is to be ready for game one. Hopefully, we get an exhibition game in at the end, but we’re going to play it by ear at that point. We’re not going to push for it, so we’ll see how it goes. The timeline hasn’t changed.

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“Time is on our side and that’s not always the case during the season. So we’re trying to use that to our advantage.”

Bergeron’s absence certainly left a void on the ice given his importance to the team, but these camp sessions with the reunited team after the China trip are when the importance steps up a bit. Given some of the injury issues Bergeron has suffered in camp the past few seasons, it’s a wise move to bring him along slowly.

Provided he can get on the ice for a full practice in the next week or so, there’s really no danger of No. 37 not being ready for when the Bruins open against the Capitals in DC Oct. 3 and that’s really the only timetable that matters.  

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