PHILADELPHIA Andrew Ference wont play against the Philadelphia Flyers Sunday afternoon as he serves out the first suspension of his 12-year NHL career.
The veteran defenseman has been suspended three games for a charging hit on New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the overtime session of Saturdays loss to the Blueshirts.
Steve Kampfer will play in Ferences place.
Ference wont be playing today. Hes going to be suspended. The one thing they havent confirmed to us is the length of it, said Claude Julien. You never want to see a player suspended. But at the same time there are rules in place and its a game thats played on the edge. Whats clear is that Ference isnt a dirty player. Hes a player that supports what the league is trying to do.
Julien referenced Zdeno Chara getting hit from behind during Saturdays game as well, and the lack of supplementary discipline for that dangerous play because the 6-foot-9 defenseman was able to walk away from head-first impact into the glass.
Not every time a player is suspended is it meant to be intentional. We saw that with Henrik Zetterberg last night. He got kicked out just for putting a hand on somebodys back and sometimes guys are going into the boards at a fast speed and theyre off-balance. It just goes to prove that it doesnt always have to be a dirty play or meant intentionally. Chara got hit from behind yesterday and it he was 5-foot-10 then hed probably be down on the ice. Its a lot about what comes out of those kinds of hits the injuries and everything else that the league seems to be looking at. You respect what theyre trying to do and you move on.
Ference had a phone hearing with NHL VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan on Sunday morning about the hit. He explained the suspension in a video for NHL.com.
Ference accepted responsibility for the hit following Saturdays game and admitted he came into the collision with too much speed to keep things under proper control.