Ference accepting his punishment

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Ference accepting his punishment

PHILADELPHIA Andrew Ference has played in 782 NHL games counting regular season and the playoffs, and hed managed to avoid any form of suspension in the first 11 years of his career.

That all changed Sunday when the NHL tagged Ference with a three-game suspension for boarding New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. The hit knocked the blueliner out of Saturdays game and got Ference thrown out of the game with a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging.

Both Ference and the league agreed his hit wasnt a dirty hit or malicious play during a Sunday morning phone hearing, but it was still a dangerous collision given the speed, strength and competitive levels involved.

It was mutually agreed on the phone that they saw absolutely no intent to injure, which is what I saw as well. We all agreed on that, said Ference, who will return to the lineup for a Feb. 2 home game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Hes not injured. Im very happy about that. So with those things into play the league comes up with a number.

Everybody has opinions, but it doesnt really do any good for the players to have strong ones. Its not going to change anything.

As Ference alluded to, it appears McDonagh is going to be fine after getting checked out by team doctors. But first-time offender Ference was still sanctioned by NHL sheriff Brendan Shanahan for the reckless hit that appeared to fit the exact parameters of the new boarding rules put into enforcement prior to this season.

Shanahan indicated he took into account Ferences spotless 12-year career and the lack of a McDonagh injury, but that still netted the veteran blueliner a three-game suspension and over 36,000 in lost wages. So rather than gather ammunition for a fight he cant possibly win against the league, Ference has opted to take his spoonful of league-mandated medicine and simply wait for his involuntary, unpaid vacation to be over.

There were no injuries, so first and foremost that was a positive, said Ference. As far as opinions on the suspension I think its probably best served for friends and family. It doesnt serve much purpose for me to dole that out right out here. The process happens and they come up with that number, so be it and Ill deal with it.

At the end of the day its Shanahans call and you just deal with it. I gave my full opinion with him. I was going extremely fast trying to win a race to the puck. Once I realized that the race to the puck was lost, I changed course and tried to create a pin situation where you can battle for the puck. But at the initial contact of the pin he loses his balance to the extreme and goes in pretty hard.

Consider it a lesson learned for all involved, and, in all likelihood, the only blemishes one will ever see on Ferences overwhelming personal history of good hockey conduct are one high-speed collision and an equipment malfunction that everyone in Montreal still talks about to this day.

What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

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What makes a good manager? Rangers GM Jon Daniels explains

Across the way from John Farrell in the Rangers dugout this series is a manager who was voted the American League’s best in his first year at the helm, 2015.

Jeff Banister is one of three full-time skippers Rangers president Jon Daniels has had in his time running the Rangers.

Much has been made about how Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski views the manager’s job: that in-game management isn’t the most important, but running the clubhouse is.

How does another top baseball exec look at it? Daniels explained on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast.

“I think manager’s an enormous role,” Daniels said. “Huge importance, I don’t buy into any of the sort of snarky commentary. … What I think sometimes gets a little blown out of proportions, at times whether it’s lineup construction, some of those — the in-game stuff, bullpen management’s very real. 

“Certainly the knowledge of the game is big. I think the ability to teach the game is big. But the No. 1 separator, in my opinion, is managing people. It’s really the word ‘manager.’ Helping to mold the culture in the clubhouse. Getting everybody on the same page. Young players, older players, everybody’s got different self-interests and to be able to get all those unique self-interests enough on the same page for a common goal while representing the club publicly, with the media, with the fans, and doing it under a pretty intense spotlight — I think that’s the biggest piece. Probably the hardest to truly evaluate unless you’re like, in the clubhouse or around the clubhouse on a daily basis and have a sense for who’s good at it, who’s not. That for me is like where guys really separate themselves.”

Asked if he’s ever surprised by player sensitivity, Daniels underscored what stage of life most ballplayers are in.

“Everybody’s different, right?” Daniels said. “So everyone has different insecurities, everyone has different level of ego, grown up in different circumstances. At the end of the day everybody wants a few basic things. You want to be like kind of communicated on a pretty forthright, direct way. You want to be treated with respect. Some guys can handle a little more criticism than others. 

“Some guys can handle a little more criticism from their peers than others can. I think that’s a manager’s job, to understand kind of the different approaches. Players, the guys are in their 20s. Think about where you were when you were first out of college … a few years off that, and your maturity level and really your lack of life experience in a lot of ways. And, kind of like evaluate under those circumstances: you’re going to be somewhat sensitive when you’re in that time period in your life.”

How well a manager handles a clubhouse isn’t something the Rangers, at least, have tried to quantify.

“More anecdotal for me. There may be ways,” Daniels said. “I haven’t really been part of that. If there is [a way] we haven’t figured it out, and we haven’t really tried to do, to be honest with you.”

For the full interview, listen to the podcast below

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

Brown (hip) and Johnson (shoulder) will play in Game 5

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are far from being healthy heading into tonight’s must-win Game 5, but they will have all of their players available with the exception of Isaiah Thomas (hip).

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown (right hip) was questionable heading into tonight’s game, but he told CSNNE.com earlier that he was planning to give it a go tonight.

Boston head coach Brad Stevens confirmed later on that the 6-foot-7 rookie would in fact play tonight.

His presence tonight is one of the many keys to Boston’s efforts to keep their season alive.

They trail Cleveland 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, with a loss tonight ending their season and with that, sending the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals for the third straight season.

Boston’s Amir Johnson (right shoulder) did not play in Game 4, but will be in uniform and available to play tonight. Stevens said the 6-foot-9 veteran was healthy enough to play in Game 4 but Stevens elected to keep him out of the game because he wanted Johnson to have more than one day to rest his shoulder before potentially playing him again.

In other injury-related news, Stevens confirmed comments made earlier in the day by Danny Ainge regarding Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs after the injury proved to be too much for him to play through at halftime of Boston’s Game 2 loss.

Speaking during 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, Ainge said there was “a lot” of inflammation around the affected joint on Thomas’ right hip.

“It had gotten worse from the MRI’s he had before,” said Ainge who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”

Said Stevens: “It sounds to me like the course of action right now … is let the inflammation go down a little bit.”

Ainge said earlier that because of the inflammation, it will likely be at least a couple weeks before Thomas and the Celtics will know if he will require surgery or whether another form of treatment will be needed.

Because of that uncertainty, Ainge stressed that Thomas would not return to play in this series even if it were closer.

“No. No way. He’s done (for the season),” Ainge said.