WILMINGTON, Mass. Andrew Ference is coming off the first suspension of his 12-year NHL career, but dont expect the defenseman to change anything about his game heading into Thursday nights game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Ference is experienced enough to realize that things simply happen sometimes in the game of hockey, and that was the case in the collision with New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh that led to his initial suspension. When asked by particularly persnickety reporter if he was concerned about a besmirched reputation or becoming a repeat offender, Ference had the line of the day.
I dont have to register in my neighborhood, so I think its all right, shot back Ference. That type of play happens a lot over the course of the game. It doesnt usually result in a guy falling and its a little lower speed. The next time I guess Ill get the puck and score. You try to let up as much as possible and not plaster them into the boards.
The Bs defenseman hasnt played since the Jan. 21 game that resulted in his three-game suspension for boarding McDonagh, but didnt see a lot of benefit to getting a rare 10-day break into the middle of the hockey season.
This would have been like having an Olympic break during those particular years, and if youre injured or banged up then its the greatest thing in the world, said Ference. But if its not then youd rather not take any break at all. Ive been healthy this season, so its best not to take breaks.
Claude Julien took a more serious tack to the line of questioning, and pointed to Ferences levelheaded veteran approach as the biggest reason those factors wont weigh heavily in his mind. After all, Ference managed to go nearly 800 games before his first NHL suspension, so chances are there wont be another one anytime soon.
Anybody coming back is going to be a welcomed addition. Hes an experience player thats had a really good year for us. Hes as steady as we could have asked for, so were happy to have him back especially with the situation McQuaid is in right now, said Julien. The page has been turned with the suspension. Sometimes things happen in the game. It doesnt mean that its meant or that its dirty. Its a fast-paced game and sometimes you dont have time to react properly.
Its something you getter yourself at, but its not something that you dwell on. Hes a pretty respectful player. Hes going to be fine, hes always been in great shape and a guy thats been around the league for a long time doesnt let things like that rattle him.
Its a case of good timing for the Bruins, as it appears Adam McQuaids status might be up in the air after suffering a lower-body injury Tuesday night, but a refreshed and recharged Ference will step back into the six-pack of Bs blueliners.
Ferences presence has been missed from a defensive standpoint, and his efforts should help the club reach the consistency thats eluded them for pretty much all of January.
Its a new month, Ference is back and its time for the Bruins to turn the dial back up.