Ference to have Thursday hearing over Grabovski hit

Ference to have Thursday hearing over Grabovski hit
May 2, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will have a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety after a hit on Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski in the first period of Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory in Game 1 at TD Garden.

The two players were moving in toward impact on a puck in Boston’s defensive zone, and video replays showed Ference coming up high on Grabovski with a raised arm as they slammed into each other. It wasn’t a full chicken wing elbow like the one tossed by New Jersey defensemen Anton Volchenkov at Brad Marchand’s head in the final month of the regular season, but there was certainly contact made by Ference with Grabovski’s head.

There was no penalty on the play, and no injury resulting from the collision between Ference and Grabovski. That may be a big factor in an ultimate decision on Ference where playoff suspensions are given much heavier weight than those handed out during the regular season. Considering that it usually takes major injury or an egregiously dangerous hit to merit a suspension, the NHL potentially suspending Ference could be setting a kinder, gentler precedent not necessarily welcome in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Claude Julien said he had “his own view” on the hit, but wasn’t going to comment for the record before the NHL conducts its own fact-finding mission.

“The league looks after those things,” said Julien. “That job doesn’t belong to me, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Ference also has a prior history with a three-game suspension for hitting Ryan McDonagh from behind, and a hit on Jeff Halpern during the 2011 Stanley Cup run that placed the Bruins defensemen on the league’s radar.

“We haven’t had a chance to watch, or anything like that. I was on the bench and didn’t see it,” said Patrice Bergeron. “You don’t want to see [a teammate possibly get suspended], but we’re also a deep team with players ready to step up. It’s about doing the job with the players that are on the ice.”

If Ference is suspended for a game, then it’s likely that 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton will enter the Bruins lineup and there’s a potential the Bruins could be forced to break up the Zdeno Chara/Dennis Seidenberg top D-pairing. So there is plenty riding on whether or not Ference will be skating for the Black and Gold in Game 2 on Saturday night.