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.

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.