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.

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats