The NHL Department of Player Safety has already reviewed a hit from Game 1 of the nasty Bruins/Maple Leafs series. Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference caught Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovski in the first period with a raised right arm to the head while both players were battling for the puck in the corner.
Ference and Grabovski were racing into the corner for a loose puck, and the Hockey Night in Canada cameras caught a clear view of Ference lifting up his shoulder to make contact with Grabovski’s face. It was unclear whether it was the defenseman’s elbow or his upper shoulder, however that first made contact with the Leafs player’s head. .
Ference said he didn’t recall the play when questioned about it following Game 1, and Claude Julien wouldn’t comment on it before taking a look at the video.
“I haven’t seen it,” said Julien. “I can’t comment on that.”
There was no penalty called on the play, and there was no injury to Grabovski resulting from the collision. The Toronto forward went on to absorb crushing hits from both Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk later in the game, and was one of the few Maple Leafs players consistently putting himself in harm’s way in the 4-1 win for Boston at TD Garden.
TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted after Wednesday’s game that the league has already reviewed the play, and supplemental discipline for Ference was “possible, but seems unlikely.” The Bruins defensemen was suspended three games for a hit from behind on New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh last season, so Ference would be considered a repeat offender in the eyes of the Department of Player Safety.
All that being said it usually takes a serious injury, or something considered very dangerous, to merit a suspension during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and it certainly doesn’t feel like the Ference hit rises to that level.