Earlier this week, the Boston Bruins signed several draft picks to entry level NHL contracts. In particular, forward Joe Colborne and defenseman Steven Kampfer played their first professional game at home against the Worcester Sharks. Also debuting was forward Maxime Sauve. In their first game, Colborne and Sauve each had two points as Colborne assisted on both of Sauve’s goals as the baby B’s beat the baby Sharks 3-1 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Colborne admitted after the game he was nervous to start. I noticed as soon as he jumped the boards for his first shift, he went right to the forecheck and finished his hit on a Shark defenseman in the corner. “I had quite a bit of nerves there in warm-ups and the first shift but once you get the first check in and you kind of get into the game and you kind of go back to what I’ve been doing my whole life. It was everything I thought it would be, and getting the win made it that much nicer.”
I will admit, my sole reason for going to the game was to see the big center who was turned into a winger at the University of Denver. Last night, he was back at his more natural center position. “It felt great. I hadn’t been there for a while and was a little rusty on my faceoffs.” He added that “it felt natural and we’ll see if I stay there.”
He also said he was happy that his parents made is across the continent (he is from Calgary, AB) and made it to Rhode Island just in time for the game. He was very thankful for the support and sacrifices his parents and his sister have made for him to be standing outside of a professional locker room.
I liked his skating style and you can see he has good vision on the ice. He made a couple of passes, that didn’t connect with his new teammates last night, will in the future when his linemates get to know each other better out there. He showed no fear going into the corners and initiated most of the contact. Time will tell if he becomes a physical force once he grows into his 6′ 5″ frame.
Honestly, I was taking notes on Joe most of the night but it became obvious that Steve Kampfer is ready to make the jump to the AHL level based on last night’s performance. Prior to last Sundays double OT loss to Miami-Ohio in the NCAA tournament, I had never seen him play at the University of Michigan. Last night, to me it seemed like he dominated his own half of the ice when he was out there. Listed at 5′ 11″ and 197 pounds, he played like he was 6′ 2″ and 215 against the baby Sharks.
In speaking to him after the game he admitted being nervous but he was quick to point out his NCAA days are over. “I think the guys are a lot stronger than they were in college,” he said. “That was something that I noticed. You go into the corner, and I’m used to pushing the guy off the puck. And these guys are big men, and going into the corner you’ve got to be a lot stronger and that’s something I’ve got to work on.”
Coach Murray played him in all situations too. Having been recently aquired from Anaheim, this was literally his baptism into the Bruin organization as he has never been to a Boston training camp. That’s what stood out to me with this young defenseman. He showed poise with the puck and kept things to the outside when he was in his own zone.
The P-Bruins are 8 points back of Bridgeport and Lowell who are tied for the final playoff position in the Atlantic Division. They have five games remaining. Who knows, maybe the new infusion of talent helps them sneak into a first round series against these baby Sharks.
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Written by Jim Mulligan