|With environmental hero in the stands and Stanley Cup at stake, Vancouver best of both worlds for Andrew Ference||06.01.11 at 5:09 pm ET|
VANCOUVER — When players are on the ice, they have to focus on nothing but what’s on the ice. Yet for Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, he’ll have a pretty big name in the stands Wednesday watching him in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.
“My best friend lives in Vancouver. My parents will be at the games. Dr. Suzuki is coming tonight with my parents,” Ference said when listing who will be at the game. “My sister is flying out, it’s close for them, and we have people coming down to Boston as well. I think it’s a lot more fun to cheer for the Bruins down there than it is here.”
That Dr. Suzuki he mentioned is Dr. David Suzuki, who is a well-known Canadian environmentalist and hails from Vancouver. Years ago in an interview, Ference said that if he could meet one person, it would be Suzuki. Since then, the two have teamed to create the NHL’s carbon-neutral program and have remained friends.
So it must be pretty cool for Ference, known just as well for his environmental interests as he is for a certain on-ice gesture this postseason, to have Suzuki sitting with his parents as he tries to win the Stanley Cup.
“He’s been to a couple [of my games], and he’s excited. He loves hockey,” Ference said Wednesday. “But I told him not to cheer for us, because he would probably get notched down a couple places in Canadien folklore. I said it’s alright if he cheers for the Canucks, but he might be a neutral party tonight.”
While playing in Vancouver is neat for someone from western Canada, the 32-year-old just considers himself lucky to be playing for the Cup at all. The last time he played in the finals was in 2004, when his Flames fell to the Lightning in seven games.
“I feel really fortunate. It’s my second going to the finals, and both times with the Canadian content. It’s a special thing, and for a Canadian team to be matched up with an Original 6, that’s a really cool opportunity as a player,” he said. “For two great cities with good hockey history to be involved is awesome. The finals is special no matter what, but there’s a couple of little extra sprinkles on top with this matchup.”
|Andrew Ference: Bruins have been waiting for that goal setup all series||05.28.11 at 12:42 am ET|
During Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, defense partners Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk and assistant coach Doug Houda talked about a play they thought would break the Lightning’s 1-3-1 neutral zone setup. Instead of gathering speed through the neutral zone to win the race to a dump-in, they discussed using that speed to make short passes and skate the puck into the offensive zone.
The Bruins used that plan to varying amounts of success throughout the series, but it never really worked out well enough to result in a goal… until the third period of Game 7.
The play started with all three forwards circling back toward the defense to pick up some speed as Ference walked the puck into the neutral zone. Then Ference made a quick pass to David Krejci that sprung the speedy center clear through Tampa’s three-man front at center ice.
“I’ve been waiting for that all series,” Ference said. “All series, we’ve talked about that. I talked about that play with Doug Houda, I think Game 1. Johnny and I, we’ve been in that situation, I don’t know, 50, 60 times this series where we bring up the puck into the forecheck that they have. Game 1, we drew that play up and said, ‘Boys, look for this play. It’s gonna work, it’s gonna work.’ We tried it a couple times, but tonight was the first time it really just worked perfect, the timing and everything. Krejci came through with the perfect timing and obviously the finish was sick.”
That finish was a criss-cross by Krejci and winger Nathan Horton once they entered the zone, a quick pull-up by Krejci in the left circle, and a crisp centering pass that Horton tipped home from the top of the crease.
“We knew we wanted to come back and get some speed,” Horton said. “You want to have speed to get going through the zone and we kind of did that. We had a little bit more than they probably thought, so it worked out well. That’s what you want. You want Dave coming over the blue line with the puck. I just tried to give him some space and he made an unbelievable pass to me.”
Claude Julien said that play gave the Bruins a nice second option on entries, allowing them to keep the Lightning on their toes.
“I liked the way our guys made some decisions tonight as far as knowing when to run it in because we have guys going with speed,” Julien said. “I think that was a great play where you walk the puck in, and obviously Dave made a great play hanging onto it and Horts went to the net.”
|Bruins can’t close out Lightning despite David Krejci hat trick||05.25.11 at 10:46 pm ET|
TAMPA — The Bruins and Lightning are heading back to Boston to decide the Eastern Conference finals, as a hat trick from David Krejci was not enough to propel the B’s into the Stanley Cup Finals — instead, it was a 5-4 loss in Game 6 Wednesday night.
After the Bruins erased an early 1-0 Bolts lead with goals from Milan Lucic and Krejci. Tampa would come back with three unanswered goals before a back-and-forth third period left the B’s down by one following Krejci’s third goal.
Teddy Purcell did most of the Lightning’s damage to Tim Thomas, opening the scoring just 36 into the contest and giving Tampa a 3-2 lead 13:35 into the second period. Purcell now has six goals this postseason, three of which have come this round.
Thomas made 21 saves for the Bruins, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 15 of the Bruins’ 19 shots.
Game 7 will be played at TD Garden on Friday.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS
- Another goal allowed very early for the Bruins. Krejci was set to take the face-off against Vincent Lecavalier and was tossed from the dot, allowing Lecavalier to go against Chris Kelly. The Tampa center won it cleanly, allowing for Purcell to blast one past Thomas. It was the Lightning’s second goal in the first minute of a game this series, and third goal in the first 1:09. Amazingly, it was the only game in the aforementioned three that the Lightning won.
- Yes, Eric Furlatt was officiating and the Lightning were penalized more than the B’s, but it was Tampa that won out when it came to actually capitalizing. The Bruins’ power play looked improved with Zdeno Chara in front, and Krejci scored his second of the game with the B’s on the man advantage in the third, but the Lightning went 3-for-4 as opposed to Boston’s 1-for-5.
- Once again, the Bruins simply couldn’t build momentum at St. Pete Times Forum. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 4, the B’s blew a 2-1 lead in the second and got no boost from Krejci’s goal that brought them within one in the third. Martin St. Louis scored 29 seconds after Krejci’s tally.
- Taking an interference penalty with 13:02 remaining in a game in which your team is trying to make a two-goal comeback probably isn’t what you want to do if you’re Tomas Kaberle. The polarizing defenseman did just that in the corner on a play that left Ryan Malone bloodied. Kaberle actually had a good night defensively, but the penalty won’t help his reputation around Boston as a bust of an acquisition.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
- Krejci’s hat trick gives him five goals in six Eastern Conference finals games. The dominance from the second round hasn’t been there, but the numbers have been.
- Say what you want about Lucic disappearing this postseason, but he always smells blood when his team has a chance of ending a series. Lucic had a pair of tallies in Game 4 against the Flyers in the second round last year, and had three goals in Games 6 and 7 combined against Philly last year. Taking Games 6 and 7 against the Habs this year into consideration, Lucic now has 6 goals in the last six games in which the Bruins could eliminate an opponent.
- Dennis Seidenberg had a big play for the Bruins on a play in which the Lightning could have made it 4-2 late in the second. A Marc-Andre Bergeron shot yielded a rebound that Steven Stamkos tapped toward the net with Thomas out of position. Seidenberg literally put his foot down, stepping in front of the puck before it could hurt the B’s and starting a circus that landed Andrew Ference in the box for cross-checking Stamkos. The Lightning would score on the power play early in the second period on a goal from Stamkos, thus making the transaction a wash.
|Andrew Ference on D&C: Claude Julien has fiery side||05.13.11 at 9:57 am ET|
Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the upcoming series with the Lightning. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Ference said the Bruins are itching to get back to game action after having an eight-day layoff but that they haven’t gotten too restless in practice this week. “This week’s been handled well. We’ve had a couple of good practices,” Ference said. “It actually doesn’t feel overloaded. I think it’s been just the right amount.”
Ference said there were still some good battles in practice, though. “We had some stitches yesterday,” he said. “You get battles because you have to stay sharp. … If one guy’s going at 95 percent game speed and the other’s at 80 percent, it doesn’t always work out. That guy at 80 percent gets brought up to speed fast.”
Ference also talked about matching up against the Lightning and which players he’s been focusing on the most.
“I know Johnny [Boychuk] and I are probably going to be up against their second line a lot, so [Vincent] Lecavalier is obviously a guy we’re going to have to key on,” Ference said. “He’s been a good player for a long time. But honestly, I’m not big on studying the guys I’m playing against. I just concentrate on myself and what I have to do.”
As many others have already noted, Ference said the Lightning play more like the Canadiens than the Flyers, especially when it comes to neutral-zone play. “We’ll have to line up kind of like we did with Montreal,” he said. “We’ll have to have patience in our game. They can be aggressive, but more often than not, they’ll fall back and frustrate teams with their defense and clogging up the neutral zone.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Bruins know they can’t get comfortable being up 2-0||05.03.11 at 2:04 pm ET|
It can be tempting to think a series is over once a team takes a two-game lead, but no one around the Bruins is thinking that way — or at least not publicly admitting it. After coming back from a 2-0 series deficit against the Canadiens in the first round this year and blowing a 3-0 series lead against the Flyers last year, the Bruins know this series is far from over.
“I’m not looking so much at where we are in the series more than what’s at stake in [Wednesday] night’s game and how well we have to play,” Claude Julien said. “The rest will take care of itself. If we play well, we’ll be up by another game. I don’t think there’s anybody in that dressing room, including the coaching staff and players, who’s sitting comfortably right now.”
Defenseman Andrew Ference concurred with his coach and said that feeling complacent or expecting anything to come easy would be a recipe for disaster.
“I don’t think we need to look too far back to know that guys aren’t going to be too comfortable with leads and to know that the playoffs are hard-fought and you have to earn victories,” Ference said. “I think it would be silly for anybody to think that the guys in this locker room are comfortable.”
In fact, the Bruins know there are still plenty of areas they can improve. One is obviously the power play, which is now 0-for-29 in the playoffs after going 0-for-2 Monday night.
“We’ve talked about that quite a bit,” Julien said of the power play. “I’m getting tired of it, actually. I think yesterday we certainly moved the puck a lot better. We spent more time in their end. We had some chances and we just didn’t bury them. To me, although we didn’t score, I thought our power play was better. If we can keep getting better, hopefully we’ll get the result here soon.”
Julien said his team will also have to do a better job of playing its game for the full 60 minutes and not getting away from the game plan. That was a problem in the third period of Game 2, when the Bruins got outshot 22-7 and only managed to force overtime because of the great play of Tim Thomas in net.
“We just totally lost focus on the things we had to do,” Julien said. “We kind of got caught in the run-and-gun type of game. Certainly that’s never served us well in the past, to play that type of game. Because of that, you saw some great scoring chances and you saw some breakaways. They had a lot of space in the neutral zone.
“Those are the kinds of adjustments we’re talking about. We have to get a little bit better as far as the 60-minute focus on the things we have do in order to minimize those scoring chances that they seem to have gotten yesterday.”
|No suspension for Andrew Ference after hit on Jeff Halpern||04.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters Thursday that defenseman Andrew Ference will not be suspended for his collision with Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of Boston’s 4-3 overtime win over Montreal Wednesday.
Halpern went down hard after hitting the shoulder of Ference in the Bruins’ zone, and it was reported following the game that Ference would have a phone hearing with the league at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Ference had two hearings with the league during the series. He was fined $2,500 for giving Canadiens fans the middle finger after scoring in Game 4.
According to a tweet from TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference will have a hearing with the league at 11 a.m. Thursday regarding his hit on Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern in the third period of the B’s 4-3 overtime win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Halpern remained on the ice after colliding with the B’s defenseman’s shoulder in the Bruins’ zone.
“It was pretty solid [contact], actually,” Ference said of the play. “I kind of braced myself because I saw him off the side, and I definitely felt him hit me.”
Ference maintained that he did not intend to injure Halpern, who seemingly was not significantly injured given his quick return to the game.
“Oh yeah?” Ference responded when a reporter suggested he may have raised his shoulder. “No. It was like [I explained]. “I was holding my ice, and he was out the next shift.”
This will be Ference’s second hearing of the series, as he had one following an obscene gesture to Canadiens fans in Game 4.
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