Steve Kampfer was set to play his first game at Joe Louis Arena as a pro and had bought tickets for about 40 family and friends. But his homecoming was ruined when the Bruins decided to scratch him in favor of Tyler Seguin (who did score a goal). I understand that this is the way sports work, but that was just cold. If I were a coach I would think the hometown kid would be fired up and play a great game.
Kampfer scratched yesterday in return to Michigan
Mike Brown did the same thing to Zydrunas Ilgauskas down here in Cleveland last year and never quite recovered the team afterwards. Z was scheduled to break the record for most games played by a Cav and invited a ton of people to watch him do it. Then, for reasons locked only in the mind of Mike Brown, he decided to not play him that night. Now mind you this was the only night of the year that Z was a healthy scratch and there were no discipline issues EVER with Z so the locker room was poisen from that day on.
I have no idea why coaches try and flex their muscles by embarrassing players in front of their family. Makes no sense to me.
Someday somebody's going to write a book on the 2009-2010 Cavs and it will become an instant best seller if they can solve these yet unaswered questions:
1. Why did Mike Brown bench Z that night? Never had any issues with him prior to that game and he knew if was a big deal to him and his family?
2. What really happned with Delonte West and Gloria James?
3. What really happened on the team flight coming home from Boston after game 4?
4. Why did Lebron order (and you can clearly hear him on the tape) the rest of the team to NOT foul Boston in the waning seconds of game 6 when the Cavs were only down 4?
There's more but those are the ones' I'd like to hear addressed. Something happened that NOBODY is talking about publically yet but all acknowledge theri was an "incident". Would love to know what it was......
Bruins coach Claude Julian is awesome at pissing everyone off
Smart coach would know that the player would be very motivated to play well in his first game "back home" and would use this as a motivational tool to draw out the changes in his game that were being requested. Coach lost that opportunity by benching him instead. Dumb.
No wonder they get booed off the ice
Seguin will be an absolute beast, but he's not quite there yet.
Seguin is a forward. Kampfer is a defenseman. It might still make sense if Kampfer was just dressing as a 7th D-man and Seguin hadn't been dressing, but Julian has certainly played them both before, plenty of times. And Kampfer's been playing a pretty major role, pairing with Chara a lot of the time, chipping almost 20 min./game. On his ESPN profile, Julian said it's because they feel like his game has slipped progressively the last five games, but statisically ( I haven't seen him in any of the last 5, but when I saw him before that, he looked surprising comfortable/adept) he's been fine, or better, in those last 5 games and if you want a kid to step up his game, I think it makes a lot more sense to let him play in his hometown, where he's going to be all fired up than to bench him for that game.
For what it's worth, Julian also claims he was benched in favor of Mark Stuart. Who was, admittedly, the only + Bruin on the night, but also played only about 13 min. for the 5th lowest total on the team, lowest of the D-men. (Kampfer was about 3rd among D-men in ice time). Stuart, in one more game, has 4 points to Kampfer's 9 and is plus 8 to Kampfer's plus 9. Stuart averages about 2 min. less/game than Kampfer and has 23 PIM to Kampfer's 8 (By the way, his 4 minors in 29 games is probably the most impressive part of his run in the NHL).
I think this is a pretty blatant case of player mismanagement by Julian. Maybe he didn't realize it was Kampfer's homecoming, but it's very sad for Kampfer and I think he deserves some sort of an apology, even understanding that playing is a privlege, not a right. Yes, he'll have other chances, as a Bruin or otherwise, to play in JLA, but unless both the Wings and the Bruins make the SCF (which in this first, is unlikely, however good both teams are and in any case good luck getting 40 tickets for friends and family for the SCF, I don't care that you're playing), it won't be until at least next year. And I believe that there is no guarantee that he'll play AT JLA next year, with the Bruins, since I don't think the league schedules to get every team in every building at least once per year, especially across conferences. I could be wrong on that, but last I checked, that wasn't the case.
Obviously it sucks for the kid, but at the same time he's a rookie defenseman who's been struggling. I think if you were to look at this without the maize colored glasses on it wouldn't really be an issue. Part of the reason he's been struggling is his decision making, and putting a young kid in an environment where he may be over excited isn't the right combination for someone struggling with his decision making with the puck.
I feel for the kid, but this is the NHL. I've been extremely impressed with how quickly Kampfer has adjusted to the league though, it's just needing to get that consistency down at this point.