WILMINGTON, MA -- Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and general manager Peter Chiarelli both got their proverbial “day in court” during a Thursday afternoon NHL hearing with the Department of Player Safety.
That official discussion along with video evidence of Ference delivering an illegal check to Mikhail Grabovski’s head during Wednesday night’s Game 1 led to a one-game suspension for the veteran defenseman. The suspension is the second of Ference’s 13-year career.
The cerebral blueliner didn’t have much to say on the matter when speaking with the assembled media Friday afternoon.
“You’ve just got to accept it, and move on,” said Ference. “[The discussion] was between Peter, myself and the league, and it does no good to talk about those things in this kind of medium. That conversation took place on the phone, and then [the suspension] happened.
“I know you guys want something special, but honestly it was about the discussion between Peter, myself and the league yesterday. It really doesn’t matter what I think. The criteria of which [hits] are or aren’t reviewed, or which [hits are] played on the TV a million times. That’s not my job. The decision has been made.”
The suspension will have a fairly dramatic effect on the rest of the Bruins defensive pairings. It appears 19-year-old rookie Dougie Hamilton will be inserted and skate with Wade Redden as the bottom defenseman pairing while rugged, stay-at-home blueliner Adam McQuaid skated with Zdeno Chara at practice. That meant normal Chara's playoff partner Dennis Seidenberg was paired with Johnny Boychuk for Friday’s skate.
If those are indeed the pairings for Saturday night, then all three Boston defensemen pairs will be new for Game 2. Despite the impromptu nature of it, Ference had full confidence his fellow defensemen will be able to pick up the slack in his league-mandated absence.
“Guys will step right in and have no problem at all. That’s hockey,” said Ference. “Whether it’s an injury or something else, guys will step up and do the job.”
Boston’s veteran alternate captain will be right back into the lineup for Game 3 after serving his time for the illegal hit on Grabovski, and the Bruins will have paid for the cost of doing business in what's already proven to be an intensely physical playoff matchup Toronto.