By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- The Bruins spent Tuesday morning working out off the ice and readying for their Black and White scrimmage in Providence, but they also spent time at the movies. Both Bs training camp groups watched the NHLNHLPA sponsored video about the new rules governing head shots and boarding calls for the upcoming hockey.
The Bruins have always been a team sensitive to the injuries, given Marc Savards difficulties after suffering through a Matt Cooke cheap shot and the Patrice Bergeron season lost to a severe concussion on a hit from behind. So the Bruins players paid close attention to the video, but most veteran players said it wouldnt change the way they already play the game.
Defensemen like Adam McQuaid and Andrew Ference talked about respecting all the other players in the league, and drawing a line when it comes to finishing off a vulnerable player.
Most of it was common sense to me. Its certainly okay to hate some of the guys that youre playing against, said McQuaid. But you also have to respect the fact that these players have a life outside the game.
Ference cautioned his teammates that theyd be foolhardy to play on the edge this season, with former NHL great Brendan Shanahan taking things over as the NHL discipline chief. There are the circumstances of the last two seasons with the needed crackdown on head shots, concussions and the indifferent league attitude that left so many players with brain injuries. Then there is also the NHLs poster boy in Sidney Crosby missing more than half of last season including the playoffs with post-concussion symptoms after he was injured in the NHL showpiece event at the Winter Classic.
The league has begun to realize it needs to protect the elite players that put rear ends in the seats, and players like Ference seem to be anticipating a disciplinarian thats going to toss the book at the first few agitators that test his resolve. The Bs defenseman will leave that up to the Matt Cooke miscreants of the world.
It seems like pretty common sense stuff, said Ference. I know youve got into specifics when youre talking about wording and stuff with rules. There are going to be gray areas, and decisions will be made by Brendan now and the referees. All you can do is hope that the referees see everything from the correct angle and then make the proper call. Thats all you can do as a player along with being responsible for what you do yourself.
Ference certainly thinks that Shanahan is waiting to get tested by NHL players willing to operate on the edge and potentially hurt fellow players while stepping firmly over that edge.
If guys arent clued in that the league will be watching especially in Brendans first year and if you think youre going to get away with anything then youre not kidding anybody, said Ference. Youre probably going to be made an example of if theres anything borderline this year.
Not every hit is malicious and there is incidental contact out there. Nobody is disputing that. But there are also definitely repeat guys that do the same hit time and time again. Youd think that if there was ever a season last year and this year combined to put that to an end, this would be the year.