Stanley Cup gives Ference new outlook

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Stanley Cup gives Ference new outlook

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

Eleven seasons of chasing the Stanley Cup were more than enough to make Andrew Ference appreciate the coveted hardware when he lifted it in June with the Boston Bruins.

As for capturing the title last season with the Bs, that gave the 32-year-old defenseman another perspective on the game of hockey.

I think I have more of an understanding now that it isnt just all hard work and all those things, because every team is trying to do that, he said. You can edge people in certain categories and stuff like that, but at the end of day, I think you begin to realize how much things are out of your control to a certain degree. You control what you can and you leave the rest up to chance.

On Thursday night Ference will kick off his 12th season with a unique outlook as he and his teammates raise their banner to the rafters at TD Garden. After coming within one game of winning it all with the Calgary Flames in 2004, experiencing the thrill of victory with the Bruins in June offered him a different kind of appreciation of what it takes to become a champion.

I think the older Ive gotten and you spend years in the league, I think losing gives you a better perspective than winning does, he said. I lost in the Finals in Calgary and that was more of a learning experience about how much you have to really respect the game and your teammates and how hard it is to actually win and to get that extra little bit. Also, on the same token, it makes you realize how you need fortunate bounces and you need health and things that are a little bit out of your control.

This summer Ference was joined in his Stanley Cup celebrations by a longtime friend, Jesse. The two played hockey together growing up and shared the same passion of one day going pro. Of all the people who shared in Ferences journey to victory -- his supportive parents, his grandparents who watched every game, his extended family who rejoiced in the win at their annual summer reunion -- it was Jesse who seemed the most affected by his happiness.

He told me, Ive cried eight times today, Ference recalled.

Ference had accomplished the goal he and so many of his friends had dreamt of for years. Others had fought hard just like he did, but he points to a combination of perseverance and circumstances that led him to the NHL, the Bruins, and eventually, the Stanley Cup.

I think the older you get, the more you realize how much good luck plays into it and good timing getting drafted to the right team, having a good coach, having a spot open to play, he said. No matter how hard you work, you still need things to fall into place and all those fortunate things to kind of happen. I dont pretend that I just got here just because I worked hard because there are a lot of guys that worked hard and they dont get the luck and the fortunate timing.

I feel very fortunate, very lucky everything fell into place perfectly.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

Cassidy quells goaltender controversy: 'Tuukka's our No. 1 goalie'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While the sequence of events over the past couple of days could understandably lead one to wonder who will start between the pipes for the Bruins on Tuesday night vs. Nashville, interim coach Bruce Cassidy tried to quell any hint of a goalie controversy.

The vote of confidence was certainly needed after Anton Khudobin’s fifth consecutive win halted the B's four-game losing streak with a huge 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday night in the wake of Rask’s absence while tending to a short-term lower body issue.  

“[Rask] had a good practice today. I spoke with him. We’ll see how he wakes up tomorrow and we’ll make our decision. He’s our No. 1 goalie, so there’s no way we can skirt our way around that issue. He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important. When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision,” said Cassidy. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year...and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.

“That’s why we have two goaltender, and [Anton Khudobin] has really stepped up in that last stretch and done what’s asked of him. He’s fixed that area of our game. It’s nice to have a guy that’s your No. 2 that can win you hockey games and play well. It’s a great problem to have, to be honest with you. But Tuukka is our No. 1. But Tuukka is our No. 1. He’s our guy.”

Rask declared himself fit to play after going through a full Monday practice with no issues, but said he’s still waiting to hear the final word on whether he’ll play on Tuesday night vs. the Predators. The Bruins franchise goalie also said he isn’t worried about any recurrence of the lower body injury that “popped up” in the Tampa Bay loss Thursday night, which really doesn’t bring any clarity to the entire situation.

“It was a good day back on the ice. I feel good. We’ll see what the decision is [for the Nashville game], but I feel good today,” said Rask, who is 8-8 with a .892 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average since the All-Star break, compared to Khudobin’s 2-0-0 with a .920 save percentage and 1.98 goals-against average. “You need to put the best lineup out as possible, and I wasn’t in any shape to play. So, there are no easy decisions this time of year, but I’ve played a lot of hockey and injuries happen. We talked to the training staff and managers and came to a decision that [Khudobin] was going to play the game, and that’s it.

“It’s obviously tough from a personal standpoint, but it’s never about one guy or two guys. It’s a team game and I feel confident that we’re going to get the job done as long as we play the way we did. It was great to see.”

Clearly, it looks like Rask is going to play vs. Nashville and that’s the safe, easy decision when it comes to a No. 1 goalie getting paid $7 million a season and perhaps it all works out with a fired up Finnish netminder after sitting out Saturday night. But nobody is going to be faulted if they wonder what’s going to wrong with Rask ahead of the next gigantic game Boston will have to play with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the line. 

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

Krejci leaves practice early with 'upper body issue'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins returned to work on Monday after a big win over the weekend, but were one man down by the end of practice at Warrior Ice Arena. David Krejci exited the ice early on Monday and coach Bruce Cassidy said that the playmaking center is battling a bit of an upper body issue.

That was the reason for his abbreviated practice appearance ahead of the game Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at TD Garden.

“He’s got a bit of an upper body issue, he’s got a little discomfort,” said Cassidy of Krejci, who has one point and a minus-4 rating over his past four games. “He got treated and I believe he’ll be fine tomorrow. I don’t think it’s anything major, but I can’t speculate [on it]. But that’s the issue.”

There was no play that sticks out from the Saturday night win over the Islanders were Krejci might have hurt himself, but the team’s hope is obviously that it’s something the 30-year-old can keep playing through.

With Krejci having left the ice, Ryan Spooner bumped up to the second line with the following line combos and D-pairings finishing out an hour-long practice:

 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes

Stafford-Spooner-Pastrnak

Vatrano-Nash-Hayes

Beleskey-Moore-Acciari

 
Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

C. Miller-K. Miller

 
Rask