Boston’s home stand has ended, with the team headed to the wild reaches of Colorado and Texas for the rest of the week, and while it was a generally positive stretch of games at TD Garden, there are always things one can look for to be improved upon.
For one Steven Kampfer, one thing has definitely stuck out as a “needs improvement” over his recent record: minor penalties.
The Herald’s Marisa Ingemi began pointing it out earlier this week that he’s been climbing the PIM chart slowly, and it came to a head this weekend, with him finishing the home stand with 5 penalties in three games.
With this three game stretch, Kampfer went from 8th or 9th on the team in penalties to third. Second on the team is Torey Krug who got a lot of his minutes from getting a 2-5-10 by being really, truly mad at Darren Archibald. First is Brad Marchand with almost 50. I will give you no clues as to how he got there.
Has this effected the B’s at all?
Thankfully, Boston’s penalty kill remains generally quite strong, as of the three teams and of the 5 minors called, the B’s only surrendered one goal, in the Vancouver game in which it was hard to think of a time in which Boston wasn’t surrendering a goal or two in that disaster of a second period.
So what’s causing this?
It’s just a few games, frankly, so considering it a pattern is a little extreme, but it is a bit concerning that it happened as clockwork as it did. As for why it’s happening, we can pin it down to maybe a couple of things. The first and easiest...is that he’s just straight up getting very unlucky or somewhat sloppy. A stick that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, being in the path of another player and hitting him in just the right way that he gets interfered with, and the referees happening to have an eagle eye’d view of whatever infraction he happens to be doing at any one point in the game. It happens.
Another is that, from his player isolated impact over his career, there’s definitely a reason to possibly explain what the heck is happening here:
While his defense in general has some...holes, I guess you could call it, one place he definitely excels is net-front defense in the most literal sense. He’s best on his backchecking when he’s practically right in front of the goaltender. And in order to be a net-front presence, you definitely have to be willing to sacrifice yourself in order to be effective, and Kampfer is definitely more than willing. Which of course means, considering that the B’s just played four high-octane NHL offenses that are far less concerned with hitting than with speed and spreading defenses out as much as possible...Kampfer might be trying to do what he can to continue to keep the body on so many fast, young players.
Or again, he could just be going through a stretch of supremely unlucky games.
Whatever the case, let’s hope he’s managed to shake this particularly odd stretch of minor penalties going into Thursday’s contest vs. Colorado.