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Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins ‘have to work through some frustrations’ 10.14.11 at 10:33 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said that the Bruins' early struggles this season have to do with a lack of execution. (AP)

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning for his weekly appearance. Ference discussed the Bruins’ slow start to the season and the reasons behind their struggles. Boston is 1-3, and some have wondered if the B’s are struggling from the so-called “Stanley Cup hangover.”

“I know that we’ve had some close games, we’ve been a bit frustrated that we’ve not been playing as good as we can,” Ference said. “We’re just going through a tough little stretch right now.”

Ference said that execution has been the problem for the Bruins, as they’ve played some “sloppy games.” The defenseman suggested that the Bruins may be expecting too much of themselves this early in the season, especially after the success of last year’s team.

“We’ve gone through it before as a team where we’ve almost tried too hard to be perfect and you expect yourself to be perfect at this time of year. It just doesn’t work that way,” Ferrence said. “You have to build up your game again. Obviously, we have a foundation to work from. But everything’s not going to be as crisp as it was halfway through the year and you can’t get frustrated when things aren’t at the standard that we had during the playoffs. You have to build up to that. I think we have to work through some frustrations with that.”

Ference also talked about the Bruins’ trip to Gillette Stadium before the Patriots-Jets game last Sunday, as well as the play of second-year forwards Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin.

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On if teams are playing the Bruins tougher this year: “They’ve been tough games, for sure. … It’s definitely tough. Every opponent is going to get up for you. You know, I think that we had a standard as a pretty good team in the league for the last three years. Teams would get up for the Boston game anyways because of our success over the last few years. But you definitely expect a bump. I know how I would play against the defending champs in past years.”

On if bringing the Stanley Cup to Gillette was overkill now that the season has started: “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. It’s a real positive thing that the Patriots were going to do for us. … It’s the last thing with the Cup, for sure, but there’ll be plenty more team get-togethers and we’ll have a good time, because that’s what we do. It helps build the team up. … You turn the page on the Cup, but you don’t forget about it.”

On how road trips are good for team bonding: “It’s nice, especially for a couple of the new guys we have on the team just to get them more involved with everybody. Those are the guys that I feel bad for during the start-of-the-season Cup stuff, because it’s just a little awkward.”

On Marchand and Seguin playing well early in the season: “I’m not surprised with how well they’re playing. Definitely I think there were a few guys who talked with them after the season when they were going pretty good there. They’re both really good character guys and have some pretty good drive and unbelievable skills. I can’t say I’m surprised. I’m happy that they took care of themselves for the majority of the summer and got ready. As soon as I saw Seguin when he came to training camp, I knew we were in for a good year from him. He was absolutely ripped. He was a kid last year and he bulked up, he looked more like a man, so we’re in for good things from him, so that was great. And Marchand’s got a killer attitude, as you can tell, he plays on the edge. He’s not going to give up on anything.”

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Flyers have plenty of motivation vs. team that eliminated them 10.06.11 at 1:38 pm ET
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By now the cliche about how teams will come out harder against the Bruins because they’re Stanley Cup champions has been used plenty, but there may be no better case of that than Thursday.

The Bruins will be facing the team they eliminated with an easy sweep in the second round last spring when they open the season Thursday against the Flyers. The Bruins’ steamrolling over the Flyers could be considered among the reasons the Flyers blew it up in the offseason, trading captain Mike Richards as well as leading goal-scorer Jeff Carter.

On Thursday, the remaining members of that team, as well as the newcomers, will have to watch the Bruins raise their championship banner in a wild environment at TD Garden. If that can’t motivate a team on opening night, nothing can.

“It’s opening night, so people are jacked up,” defenseman and alternate captain Andrew Ference said after the Bruins’ morning skate. “I think there’s always more concentration on your own team than there is on what’s going on on the other side. Obviously, they want to ruin the party. That’s a no-brainer.”

Ference has plenty of experience being the “other team” at a team’s banner-raising ceremony. He actually made his NHL debut in Dallas against the Stars when they raised their Stanley Cup champions banner in 1999. The Bruins were the Ducks’ opponent for Anaheim’s home opener in 2007, so Ference has twice been a visitor at a banner-raising.

“I can remember a lot more from the Anaheim game, because for the Dallas one, my head was spinning around,” Ference recalled. “It’s an opening night. Team opening nights are a little bit crazier. You wait a little longer in the room for all the pageantry to get done with. You’re mentally prepared for it.”

Players in the Bruins’ room could imagine the Flyers would be motivated to come out harder against the team that ended their season. Guys like David Krejci discussed the importance of focusing on themselves, but Ference noted that given the rivalry that has existed between the two teams, Thursday would be a challenge one way or another.

“Even if we didn’t [eliminate them], it’s a Flyers-Bruins game,” Ference said. “Philly’s always gong to come in and give you a heck of a game. Especially at the start of the season, that’s when you see the crazy hockey. You see some of the big scorers and the seesawing of teams trying to find out who they are. After Thanksgiving, it kind of settles down a bit, but the start of the season is always a little bit crazy.

“You never know what to expect, and it’s usually pretty fun for highlight sand real energetic games. Not always the tightest systems, so no matter if it’s Philly or whoever, we’re going to have tough games and have to be on our toes for all of them.”

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Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly to share Mark Recchi’s old ‘A’ at 12:07 pm ET
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Either Mark Recchi had some inside information, or he’s incredibly insightful.

The Bruins on Thursday announced that Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly will share the ‘A’ last worn by the retired winger. Ference and Kelly were the two guys Recchi named first when asked Tuesday about the letter.

Ference will wear the letter for home games, while Kelly will wear it on the road. The two will switch halfway through the season, with Kelly getting it in home games.

The Bruins had the options of giving the letter to one player or sharing it with multiple guys. In the end, they chose to go with two players, and they’re confident they picked the right two.

“We didn’t think we’d get as much impact with just moving it around all the time,” Julien said. “There’s got to be some sort of stability, but our leadership group remains bigger than the letters that are out there. We’re going to take advantage of that inside the dressing room.”

Ference has been with the Bruins since 2007, while Kelly was acquired from the Senators last February. The Bruins didn’t let the fact that Kelly has less than a season of experience with the team get in the way of him being recognized for his leadership.

“He was known as a great leader in Ottawa, but he sort of felt his way through before he started showing those qualities to the extreme,” Julien said. “In the playoffs, it was pretty obvious what kind of a leader he was. Our guys and the coaching staff recognized that.”

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Andrew Ference not worried about who gets the vacant ‘A’ 09.16.11 at 2:58 pm ET
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Will Andrew Ference get Mark Recchi's letter? (AP)

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is a strong candidate (and, in one man’s opinion, the best candidate) to potentially wear the “A” that Mark Recchi wore for the Bruins last season. What does he think of joining captain Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron as the letter-bearing Bruins?

“It’s not really on my radar,” Ference said.

Ference has certainly established a voice in the Bruins’ dressing room, but he’s happy that he’s on a team full of players who can be leaders. If he does end up getting the letter, Ference doesn’t planning how he approaches things.

“You see what Rex, how he wore it, and what he did with something like that. He didn’t go out of his way to try to be somebody he wasn’t,” he said. “I’ve mentioned that before with Zee, what a great leader he is because he just is himself. We have a group full of guys who have learned from Zee or Rex and learned those lessons, how Bergie carries himself.

“I think within the confines of the dressing room, I think we all know everybody has their own strengths of leadership, whether it’s by example or some guys are more vocal than others. So whether you have something on your jersey or not, I think you have a responsibility to add what you can to the dressing room. I don’t think it changes who you are or should be or anything like that. It just is what it is, and they’ve got to put it on somebody.”

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Andrew Ference spends day with Stanley Cup in Boston 09.05.11 at 8:50 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference was a big reason as to why the B’s were able to bring the Stanley Cup to Boston, so for his day with the trophy, Ference, fittingly, brought the Cup to Boston.

The 32-year-old blueliner took the trophy for a bike ride, to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and around the North End, among other places, Monday as part of a day that saw quite a few passers by turn into a large crowd.

Ference was also in attendance for Mark Recchi’s day with the Cup last month in Kamloops, British Columbia. Here are a few pictures of Ference’s day with the Cup, all courtesy of John Bishop and the Bruins via twitter:

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Shawn Thornton says he doesn’t need an ‘A’ 08.08.11 at 3:13 pm ET
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MIDDLETON — On Friday, we kicked around the discussion of which Bruin should receive the second “A” now that alternate captain Mark Recchi has retired. While the opinion here is that it should go to defenseman Andrew Ference, the Stanley Cup champions are deep with candidates.

The two other most deserving candidates in this scribe’s opinion are forwards Shawn Thornton and Milan Lucic. We asked Thornton about the idea of potentially wearing an “A” for the first time in his career prior to Monday’s “Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s” golf tournament at the Ferncroft Country Club, and his response seemingly echoed everything his reputation would suggest: that he doesn’t need anything extra on his jersey to be one of the most respected guys in the Bruins’ dressing room.

“It’s tough to talk about because I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t get talked to about that stuff, so if it happened to be me, the recognition or even the consideration for that is an honor in itself. I haven’t had one in the NHL ever, so it doesn’t stop you from doing your job.

“It’s tough to talk about,” he continued. “Would I like to have it? I guess everybody would, it’s an honor. Do I need it? No, probably not. Whatever the decision is, it will be for the best of the team. There’s a lot of leaders on the team. There’s a lot, a lot of leaders on the team and a lot of guys deserving of it.”

One thing that might prevent Thornton from getting the distinction is the fact that healthy scratches could keep him out of the lineup, as they did once Patrice Bergeron returned in the Eastern Conference finals. Still, Thornton’s selflessness and leadership should definitely have him in the discussion.

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Andrew Ference has inkling he and Joe Corvo have at least one thing in common 07.20.11 at 3:10 pm ET
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When players begin showing up for captains practices and eventually training camp as the summer winds down and the preseason begins, Andrew Ference, like the other returning players from the Stanley Cup champions, will have a couple of new faces to meet.

Joe Corvo (Canada.com)

Ference will have a new fellow blueliner in defenseman Joe Corvo, for whom the B’s traded a fourth-round pick to the Hurricanes the day Tomas Kaberle signed with Carolina. Ference may not know Corvo personally, but he knows they’ll have a good ice-breaker for when they meet.

“I know he’s got a lot of tattoos, so we’ll be able to swap,” Ference said with a laugh.

Ference, the team’s resident tattoo aficionado, flew his tattoo artist in from Calgary so he and his teammates could commemorate their Stanley Cup championship with ink on breakup day. While many players discussed what types of tattoos they were considering that day, the final tally of players to go through with it was a measly seven, including Ference, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Ference noted that other teammates simply got them on other days, such as Chris Kelly, whom Ference said was set to get his this week.

While a simple google search will show that Seguin and Marchand (the latter of whom rarely wore a shirt in the week that followed the Cup win) got “Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins 6-15-11″ on the side of their ribs, Ference went with a very plain black-and-white spoked B on his right arm.

“Some guys got the writing, and I went with the B,” Ference said. “I don’t know. I left room for more years though.”

Ference will also meet Benoit Pouliot, with whom he’s already had at least one dealing. It was Ference who sparred with Pouliot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after the then-Canadiens forward attempted to hit Johnny Boychuk high on a dangerous play in the corner. Ference isn’t concerned about having any difficulty befriending who was once the enemy, citing the team’s ability to do it in the past.

“We got along fine with Michael Ryder,” Ference pointed out, as Ryder spent his entire career in the Montreal organization before becoming a popular guy in the Bruins’ dressing room.

While there are similarities between the two situations of Ryder and Pouliot in that both came to the Bruins after playing for the Habs (Ryder signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the B’s back in the summer of 2008), one would generally be far more skeptical of Pouliot today than they were of Ryder in 2008. Ryder was an established scorer in the NHL, while Pouliot, to borrow a bit of logic from Jack Edwards, has been nothing short of a fantastic bust since being drafted fourth overall by the Wild in 2005. For Pouliot to do anything like Ryder on the stat sheet would make the $1.1 million they dropped on the 24-year a sound investment.

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