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Still beloved in Boston, Andrew Ference grateful for ‘fairytale’ parting with Bruins 02.01.14 at 12:15 pm ET
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Andrew Ference is happy to have ended Boston's wait. (AP)

Andrew Ference left Boston on good terms. (AP)

In case you missed any of Andrew Ference’s seven years in Boston — and especially the last one — it’s no secret that he and the city had quite the affinity for one another.

It was Ference who pushed the Stanley Cup around the city in a stroller following the team’s victory over the Canucks in 2011 and, most importantly, played a key role in making the Bruins a big part of Boston’s recovery from last April’s marathon bombings.

He didn’t want to leave Boston, but he did so on as good of terms as any athlete ever will. Peter Chiarelli told the veteran defenseman at breakup day following last season that the team would not be re-signing him due to young depth on defense and salary cap concerns. Ference took the news with no hard feelings and spent the days leading up to the first day of free agency, when he signed with his hometown Oilers, parting ways with his new home amicably.

Ference, who was named captain of the Oilers prior to the season, brought his wife and daughters with him for the trip back to Boston this weekend, as he said his family will “always have a special place in our lives for everything that happened here.”

On Friday night, Ference and the Oilers left a pair of Ference t-shirt jerseys at Sal’s Pizza by Boston Common. Two Bruins fans promptly got there and took pictures with the veteran defenseman. Not too many other players can come back like that after leaving.

“I said it when I left, too, that I realized how fortunate I am to kind of leave under those circumstances,” Ference said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys over the course of their careers that get traded at the drop of a hat. They’re packed up and gone the next day and don’t really get a chance to have a long drawn-out goodbye like I did.

“When I was told I wasn’t going to come back here, it was under the best terms with Peter and with the team. They were happy with what I did and I was happy with everything they did, which is great, and then I had the chance to see a bunch of friends and spend some time with people here. It’s special, you know? It’s been about as fairytale as it gets in the sports world from a player’s perspective of how to leave a city and go to a different city, but know that you can come back to open arms.”

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David Krejci to wear Andrew Ference’s ‘A’ for Bruins 10.01.13 at 3:45 pm ET
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David Krejci

David Krejci

David Krejci will share the Bruins’ second ‘A’ with Chris Kelly this season, Claude Julien told reporters at the team’s practice in Vermont Tuesday.

Krejci gets the share of the distinction after Andrew Ference split it with Chris Kelly for the last two seasons. Ference was not brought back by the Bruins in the offseason, and he has since been named captain of the Oilers.

Originally taken by the B’s in the second round of the 2004 draft, Krejci has been the team’s first-line center for three seasons and has twice led the entire postseason in scoring. He did so in 2011 with 23 points and last postseason with 26 points.

In 424 career regular-season games, Krejci has 91 goals and 218 assists for 309 points. He is entering the second season of a three-year, $5.25 million contract.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins thrilled to see Andrew Ference named captain of Oilers 09.29.13 at 12:32 pm ET
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ferencedarthquaider

Andrew Ference is the new captain of the Oilers.

While the Bruins haven’t yet revealed who will wear Andrew Ference‘s ‘A’, the hockey world learned Sunday which letter the veteran defenseman will wear in Edmonton: ‘C’.

Ference, who signed a four-year, $13 million dollar with the Oilers on the first day of free agency this summer after not being brought back by the B’s, was named captain of the team on Sunday. There, the 34-year-old will a team with such young stars as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov.

The folks around TD Garden were delighted to hear the news.

“Captain?! Really?! I didn’t know that,” an animated Patrice Bergeron said upon being told. “That’s awesome! It’s well-deserved. It’s not really surprising to me, to be honest with you, but like I’ve said before, I’m going to miss him because he’s a great guy that I was really close to. I’m really happy for him and I think he’s going to do a great job.”

In his time with the Bruins, Ference’s leadership and value to the community was constantly on display. He came up with various things in to unify the team, from the ‘Darth Quaider’ t-shirt and the old nylon jacket in the 2010-11 season, to the chain the following season, to the short-lived rooster shirt last year and the Army Ranger jacket following the Boston Marathon bombing.

“I just sent him a text to congratulate him,” Claude Julien said. “I think he’s deserving. Everybody that knows him here knows what kind of a person he was and what kind of a leader he was on and off the ice.

“They’ve got a young team over there, and the minute he signed there, in the back of my mind I thought he had an opportunity to become the captain there. I think they made a great choice. He’s very deserving because of what he is and what he represents and what he does for a hockey team.”

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Andrew Ference signs four-year deal with Oilers 07.05.13 at 12:23 pm ET
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Andrew Ference is going home after making Boston a home for years.

The Edmonton native signed a four-year deal with a cap hit of $3.25 million on the first day of free agency, according to TSN. The Bruins had told Ference following the season that they would not be re-signing him due to their abundance of youth on defense and their lack of salary cap space.

The 34-year-old Ference had played for the Bruins since they traded for him in the 2006-07 season. He played a major role in their 2011 Stanley Cup championship and wore an ‘A’ for his final two years with the B’s.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Bruins won’t sign Jaromir Jagr or Andrew Ference, hope to keep Nathan Horton 06.26.13 at 1:19 pm ET
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Andrew Ference

Breakup day often means the last day with a team for certain players, and the Bruins have a few.

Bruins general manager notified free agents Jaromir Jagr, Andrew Ference and Jay Pandolfo that they will not be re-signed by the team during Wednesday’s exit meetings. Ference and Jagr both told the media earlier that they didn’t expect to be back.

“I don’t think I will,” Jagr said. “Maybe if I would score 20 goals in the playoffs, it would be a different story. I was 20 short.”

Chiarelli told Nathan Horton that the team hopes to sign him and said that he will not be using amnesty buyouts. The Bruins’ cap situation will be very tight, even with Tuukka Rask and Horton the team’s priority free agents. Assuming they put Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve, the Bruins will have $9,180,833 to sign Rask and fill two forward spots, one of which they hope is Horton, as well as figure out backup goaltending plans. He did not rule out trading one of the team’s more substantial contracts as a means of opening up some cap space.

“We’ll find the right mix,” Chiarelli said, “but we do have some hard decisions to make, including deciding on re-signing players and deciding on retaining players.”

On other free agents, the team will take a wait-and-see approach with defenseman Wade Redden, while they have told backup goalie Anton Khudobin that they will address his situation once Rask is under contract.

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Andy Brickley on M&M: ‘Surprised’ to see Andrew Ference play over Matt Bartkowski in Game 1 06.03.13 at 1:58 pm ET
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Andy Brickley

NESN Bruins analyst Andy Brickley, in an interview with Mut & Merloni on Friday, talked about the Bruins’ win over the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals and previewed Monday night’s Game 2.

Brickley said that the end result of the game was what impressed him most about the Bruins on Saturday night, because they did not start the game very well. Pittsburgh outshot Boston 22-17 through the first two periods.

“The way they played the first 40 minutes was not Bruins hockey,” Brickley said. “They played real strong, they looked more like the team and their identity in the third period. I liked the way they played in the third, the neutral zone was a lot better, fewer turnovers. Once they had that 1-0 lead and were able to extend that lead they got real comfortable in that third period playing the style that they wanted to play. They are going to need a better start tonight because that could have easily been 3-1, 4-1, 5-1 after the first 40 minutes.”

One thing that surprised Brickley on Saturday night was that Andrew Ference returned to the lineup in place of Matt Bartkowski. Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, played more than 19 minutes in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Rangers before sitting Game 1 against the Penguins.

“Yeah, [I was] a little surprised to be honest with you,” Brickley said. “I know it was a very difficult decision. The minute you get clearance from team doctors and you’re ready to go, it is a tough decision. Bartkowski being a Pittsburgh kid, he was instrumental in advancing in that five-game series against the Rangers. He gave a different element to the Bruins back line with his speed, his ability to pinch down the wall, make key plays in the offensive zone, the quick ups. He was a good match for the Rangers because the Rangers don’t have a ton of team speed so he had more time and space.

“But Andrew Ference is a guy that shouldn’t lose his job to injury. He is a veteran guy, he plays real well in the postseason, he is a leader and he is a good match for the Pittsburgh Penguins when you talk about their high-end talent. I was a little surprised. I thought they would go with the same lineup that you saw in Game 5 against the Rangers, but it was a good decision because Ference played real well.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andrew Ference, Andy Brickley, Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug
Andrew Ference on Matt Cooke: League should focus on hit, not player 06.02.13 at 12:02 am ET
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Andrew Ference

PITTSBURGH — Matt Cooke technically doesn’t qualify as a repeat offender because his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, but Bruins fans were reminded of what he does when he hit Adam McQuaid from behind and sent the Bruins defenseman head-first into the end boards in the second period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Cooke was handed a game misconduct from the hit and figures to hear from league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. His last suspension came in March of 2011, so while Shanahan technically can’t consider him a repeat-offender, he’ll likely have a hard time avoiding the fact that he’s dealing with Matt Cooke, who has been infamous for dirty hits in his career.

Andrew Ference has been suspended twice in an 18-month span, as he received bans in each of the last two seasons for hits on Ryan McDonagh and Mikhail Grabovski. After the Bruins’ 3-0 win Saturday, Ference kept his opinion of Cooke to himself, though he did say he feels the league should make their decisions based on the hit, and not the players involved.

“Whether it’s [Cooke] or somebody else, a hit’s a hit,” Ference said. “If it should be reviewed, it should be reviewed. It shouldn’t be about who it is; it’s about the action. It shouldn’t be a bigger headline if it’s one guy or another. If the action merits a response from the league, then it does. I don’t think it’s any bigger of a problem, at least we’re not going to make it a bigger problem because it’s him.”

Asked then about what he thought of the hit, Ference, like Chara, avoided criticizing Cooke.

“It’s difficult, as players, to give too much comment on those. Penalties are called by the refs and they have their decisions to make, which are hard enough at the speed this game goes,” Ference, who once called out his own teammate’s hit, said. “They’re in their game at this point because they’re the best in the league at it. We have to respect how hard it is for them to make calls. For us to try to give our opinions on it I think is overstepping our boundaries.”

Neither Cooke nor Brad Marchand, the latter of whom also turned in a dirty hit by shoving James Neal into the boards later in the second, spoke to the media following the game.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

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