WILMINGTON — Andrew Ference  has always prided himself on being a clean player, so is he worried his reputation has been tarnished after his three-game suspension for his hit on Rangers forward Ryan McDonagh?
“I don’t have to register in my neighborhood, so’¦ I still think it’s alright,” Ference said after Wednesday’s practice.
Ference finished serving the suspension, the first of his career, Tuesday night against the Senators. He likened sitting the games out to being an injured player, as he was anxious to get back on the ice but was forced to watch the games from the press box. After plenty of time off (because the All-Star break came in the middle of the suspension, Ference might have a bit more rust after going 11 days without game action), but he’s done the typical things — mainly extra work in practice — to stay sharp.
Ference was suspended by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for pushing McDonagh into the end boards when the two were chasing the puck in the Rangers’ zone in overtime on Jan. 21. Ference has repeatedly expressed regret over how the play unfolded, but maintains that he wouldn’t approach a similar play differently.
“I mean, there’s not a whole lot of options,” Ference said. “The thing about that play is — and I kind of, just for my own amusement watched the games — and that type of play happens a lot in the game. It doesn’t usually result in a guy falling. It’s usually a little slower speed, but that situation happens all the time and situations where guys can fall awkwardly. It’s a common thing, it just doesn’t happen that often because guys have good balance and stay up. Next time I’ll get the puck and score I guess.
“Every situation is different, but honestly, if that situation happens, you try to let up and you try to do what I did. You don’t plant them into the boards, you try to let up as much as possible and hope things work out.”