Ference: Didn't mean to make obscene sign

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Ference: Didn't mean to make obscene sign

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

MONTREAL Andrew Ference's obscene gesture to the Bell Centre crowd after his second-period goal -- caught by the CBCcameras and making him subject to potential discipline by the National Hockey League -- was, he says, a pureaccident of the highest order.

Ference said his finger got stuck in his hockeyglove, and that he didnt intentionally start waggling his middle finger to the fans. Call it a wardrobe malfunction if you will.

"It looks awful; I just saw it, said Ference follwing the game. "I can assure you that's not part of my repertoire. I think my glove got caught up. I can assure you that's not part of who I am or what I ever have been. It looks awful. I admit it and I completely apologize to how it looks. I was putting my fist in the air. I'm sorry. It does look awful. I don't know what else to say.

Ference was pressed several times about the middle-finger gesture, but never wavered from the main story he's telling the commissioner's office.

"Honestly, I have no idea how it happened," he said. "It looks really bad. All I can do is tell you the truth, and my finger getting stuck in my glove is the truth.

"I totally agree it looks bad. I can assure you that's not who I am or ever will be. I was pumping my fist in the air. I don't score too many goals and that's about all I have in my celebration repertoire."

The key point in the game was clearly Bostons penalty kill with 2:19 to go in the third period with the score tied 4-4. With Dennis Seidenberg in the box for interference to Tomas Plekanec, the Bruins covered every spot on the ice during their penalty kill formation, and showed the kind of "ice bag desire" necessary to win hockey games while killing 13 out of 14 Montreal power plays during the postseason.Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell dove to block shots and kept the puck out of their own zone, and deserved the lion's share of the PK credit..

Im very happy and very proud of the guys, said Kelly. We did a good job of keeping pucks away from goaltender Tim Thomas and he made some big saves down the stretch to keep the score tied.

When youre killing one late in the game, you get that little extra push."Bruins third line center Chris Kelly was back at the Bell Centre in time for Thursdays morning skate, and playedin Game Four against the Canadiens despite a multi-colored bruise around his right eye. Tyler Seguin once again sat and the Bruins understandably stood pat after pulling out a win in Game 3.Kelly was sporting a full face cage during practice and a colorful bruise all around his right eye, but said he was fine to go in a Stanley Cup playoff situation. All tests in Boston went well, and Kelly managed a three-point night in further proof that the hockey gods smile widelyon those playing through pain and suffering.It didn't appear there were any fractures, but Kelly wasn't dealing in specifics with an injury during the postseason.Ive been given the green light and the doctors said everything is great, Kelly said. So Im going to go out and have fun. It was fine. It wasnt bad at all. It was a hockey play and part of the game. Scott GomezIve played against him for a lot of years. I think hes an honest player that works very hard.Claude Julien was having some fun with reporters asking him to comment on the Lake Placid retreat over the last couple of days leading up to Game 4, and the field day that some media were having with the whole Miracle 1980 US HockeyTeamtheme.Looks like there wont be any pep talks from Jim Craig or Mike Eruzione in the near future for the Black and Gold. Julien was asked if he saw any differences in his team while going through Thursdays morning skate: Yeah, I saw a Miracle in case you were looking for that word. No, I think we just went there to go and relax and have some quality practices. We werent looking for any miracles. It was a good place for our team to be, and we went out and skated today like we did the last time we were here.

Canadiens legend Henri Richard brought out the Canadiens' torch to begin the pregame presentation. Richard won a record 11 Stanley Cups with Montreal between 1956 and 1973.

Michael Ryder has now scored 11 goals in 28 playoff games for the Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

Julien wonders whether Bruins shutout loss was fatigue-related

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t show anything on the ice in Monday afternoon’s 4-0 matinee loss, and that’s not really any kind of an overstatement.

The scoring chances were almost nonexistent despite 32 shots on net, the second period was dreadful as the Bruins gave up three goals over the course of a six minute span and there was zero added urgency in the third period once the B’s fell behind. The emotion was missing from the drop of the puck to open the game and it never showed up once the Islanders began taking control of the game.

It was a bitterly disappointing result after the Black and Gold had played so well in their previous five games, and put in strong, winning efforts against the Panthers, Blues and Flyers.

On Monday afternoon, the passes were sloppy and errant all over the ice, there was zero physicality and the Bruins buckled once the Isles turned the intensity up just a little bit in the second period. The game was basically over once Nikolay Kulemin snapped one home wide open from the slot area with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid and David Krejci all blowing their defensive assignments, and then Tuukka Rask followed it up by allowing a softie to Josh Bailey from a bad angle close to net.  

So Bruins head coach Claude Julien termed it a “flat” performance once it was all over with, and openly wondered whether it was fatigue-related result linked to the compacted schedule Boston has played through this season. Monday marked the seventh straight day that the Bruins held some kind of formal skate, though most of the veteran B's players stayed off the ice during last week's Wednesday off-day practice in Nashville.   

“We were flat tonight, obviously, flat from the get-go. I think that first half of the game, we didn’t give much until they scored that first goal. We were able to stay in, but we certainly weren’t generating much ourselves, from that point of view,” said Claude Julien. “His is really the first year, for me as well, going through a condensed schedule, and I’m certainly not using that as an excuse, is it fatigue?. . . But we were flat tonight. How do you explain it? I don’t know. I know that it’s frustrating. I know that it’s disappointing. That’s all I can say.

“Whether it’s mental fatigue, whatever it is. We made some mistakes tonight like, from the goals you look at, we weren’t even in the position that we’re normally in. So we were totally out of whack, as far as even defending. When you give that first goal that much room in the middle of the ice, your D’s go on the wrong side, your weak-side forward is way on the other side, and you open up the slot area, that’s something I haven’t seen much of this year. I think it said a lot from our game tonight.”

The compacted schedule certainly could be a factor for a Bruins team that’s played more games than anybody else in the Eastern Conference to this point, but the B’s also had 48 hours to recharge after winning a Saturday matinee over the Flyers. So the fatigue excuse seems a little far-fetched for a hockey club that’s no-showed a few too many times this season, and did it again on Monday afternoon against one of the worst teams in the NHL. 

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

Off day for Tuukka Rask plays into rough loss for the Bruins

BOSTON – Many times this season Tuukka Rask has bailed out the Bruins when the team was at less than their best.

Monday afternoon was not one of those times as the Bruins goaltender was knocked out of the game after two periods on the way to a listless 4-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders. Rask allowed three goals on 15 shots in the game’s opening 40 minutes, and was responsible for a very soft goal during the Isles’ three-score barrage in the second period.

After the game Rask wasn’t ducking responsibility for the subpar performance, and admitted he was simply beaten to the short side post on a bad angle shot from Islanders forward Josh Bailey for the soft-serve special.

“I was just late. I picked the wrong seal. It’s one of those [goals] that I should have stopped,” said Rask. “Claude [Julien] mentioned [not taking the Isles lightly] before the game, and the last game we played here they got us. It was a bit of a flat game again last time, and we just woke up too late today. We didn’t want to underestimate them. Any team in this league is good even though the standings might show otherwise. We just never got it going.”

Rask was being kind because the Bruins never actually woke up at all in the first B's shutout loss to the Islanders on home ice in franchise history, and that includes when the Finnish netminder was yanked after the second intermission.

Julien’s act of pulling Rask from a 3-0 game was clearly designed to spark the struggling hockey club, but it did nothing to breathe life into a dead hockey club that simply allowed another goal playing out the string in the third period.

“There are two things that can happen. No. 1, you hope you can spark your team because of the performance in front of him,” said Julien. “If it doesn’t spark your team, [at least] you’re not wasting your number one goaltender’s energy.”

One would expect that Rask will be back between the pipes on Wednesday night against the Red Wings in Detroit, and in hindsight perhaps this Monday matinee might have been a good time to see what Zane McIntyre has to offer as the backup. Instead it will go down as an “off” game for Rask and another inexcusable no-show on home ice for the Black and Gold.