BOSTON (CBS) – After the Bruins lost a grueling 3-2 battle for first place in the Eastern Conference to the New York Rangers Saturday at the TD Garden, thoughts were more on the potential decision NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan has in regards to Boston defenseman Andrew Ference than on the standings.
With 1:50 elapsed in overtime, Ference and his New York counterpart Ryan McDonagh pursued a dump-in into the Rangers’ end of the ice. Ference gave McDonagh a shove, which forced the McDonagh to awkwardly hit the end boards and leave the game with an undisclosed injury after he was checked on by doctors on the ice.
Ference was dealt a five-minute major and a game misconduct. It took the Rangers a while before they finally cashed in on the lengthy power play, finally doing so with 3.6 seconds left, on a goal by Marian Gaborik. While the victory gave the Rangers a two-point cushion on the Bruins, more important will be what Shanahan decides in terms of supplemental discipline to the Bruins backliner.
“Well, I’m obviously going as fast as I can to try and get to the puck. I realized I wasn’t going to get there first, he boxed me out, I tried to lean back, but I was going too fast,” Ference said after the game. “Obviously it was a dangerous position, so I tried to let up and didn’t let up fast enough.”
Rangers head coach John Tortorella didn’t pull a Vancouver impersonation and lobby for a ban for Ference after the game. But he made it clear what he thought of the play.
“Well, it’s one of the most dangerous hits I’ve seen in a while,” said Tortorella. “And nothing has to be said as far as what should be done. I’m not going to play that. But it’s a pretty easy call as far as I’m concerned.”
And, of course, Bruins head coach Claude Julien defended his player.
Related: Bruins vs. Rangers Recap
“It was a great game; you don’t want to see a player get injured. It just made for an unfortunate ending to a great game, so that’s basically all I’m going to say right now,” said Julien. “Ference isn’t a dirty player – he’s one of those guys who supports what the league is trying to do as far as minimizing those injuries. It was a player chasing the puck, and when he did get hit, his legs were pretty far apart. There wasn’t a good balance from their player and [it] certainly resulted in an unfortunate thing. We’ll let the league look at it. They dissect things in their own way, and we’ll just wait to hear from them.”
Ference certainly is one of the most vocal players when it comes to urging the league to make the game safer. In fact, everyone remembers last season when he broke “the code” and actually classified his teammate Daniel Paille’s hit on Dallas’ Raymond Sawada as the type of hit they “want to get out of the game.”
Ference took undeserved heat for that comment.
However, any punishment he receives for this hit will be deserved because even if there wasn’t intent to injure, it was an unfortunate play that required him to be more careful. Sometimes clean players make dirty plays. Those were the words of general manager Peter Chiarelli prior to Brad Marchand’s five-game ban for clipping Vancouver’s Sami Salo. That concept should apply here.
The Bruins play Sunday afternoon at Philadelphia, so expect a quick verdict from the league.