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Bruins year in review: Unsung hero 06.24.11 at 3:45 am ET
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Each day this week, WEEI.com will be taking a look back at the Bruins’€™ historic 2010-11 Stanley Cup Championship season. So far, we’ve looked at the goal of the year, fight of the yearsave of the year and top rookie. Up today is the Bruins’ rookie of the year, a no-brainer for anyone who followed the championship season.

UNSUNG HERO

Andrew Ference: 70 GP, 3 G, 12 A, 15 P, +22 (regular season)
25 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 P

‘€œHe’€™s been very, very consistent, if not the most consistent defenseman we’€™ve had all season. He’€™s been solid every time he’€™s been on the ice. He never gives up any soft goals. He’€™s been unbelievable for us, and a real workhorse.’€

- Dennis Seidenberg, May 19

There was no questioning who the Bruins’ most important player was during their Stanley Cup run, as Tim Thomas was outstanding for the B’s. Next on the list of key performers would probably be either Zdeno Chara or Dennis Seidenberg, as those two formed the shutdown pair that nobody could beat.

Yet while all of the praise rightfully went to the goaltender and the No. 1 pairing, Andrew Ference was continuing his solid season that saw him earn every dime of his $2.25 million cap hit.

Ference was never Chara-like, nor did he have to log the type of minutes Seidenberg did, but at the end of the day, what Ference brought was something the Bruins needed. It was hard to say with confidence going into the season who the Bruins’ No. 3 defenseman was, and just how good he’d be. Ference answered that by staying healthy (for the most part) and giving the Bruins a splendid No. 3 D man.

Were there low points with Ference? Absolutely. The game-winning play for the Canucks in overtime of Game 2 started with Ference, and him flipping off the Montreal crowd was an avoidable headache. At the end of the day, Ference was huge for the B’s, even if he didn’t get credit for it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Claude Julien, Shawn Thornton

Read More: Andrew Ference, Bruins Year in Review, Dennis Seidenberg,
Andrew Ference on D&C: Bringing Stanley Cup back to North End one more time 06.21.11 at 9:31 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference joined the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about what his life has been like after winning the Stanley Cup championship last Wednesday. The veteran D-man told the guys that unfortunately the Cup in all its glory is no longer in Boston but is rather on its way to Las Vegas to be showcased at the NHL Awards Ceremony. Ference also deemed rookie forward Brad Marchand the “runaway winner” for the team’s resulting celebrations after beating the Canucks in seven games to take home the most prized trophy of the four major sports. (To hear the entire interview, visit the D&C audio on demand page.)

The blue-liner said as much fun as Marchand and some of the other guys have been having, the most difficult part of the process for him is perhaps just trying to go down the block.

“It’s taken me a lot longer to do a few chores, that’s for sure,” Ference said. “It’s great. I wouldn’t want to be in a hurry to get anything done, but the people are pumped. We know a lot of people so most of the time it’s people we already met and already know and just pass on a congratulations and tell stories where they watched or whatever it was. It was great. It’s been that way for a number of years now, living that way. [Zdeno Chara's] been riding his bike and a lot of teammates walk over [to the TD Garden] anyways so I don’t think you’re going to see things change too much unless we start showing up late to practice because we get stopped for conversation.”

Ference also said during his interview that he had an inkling that the B’s would win the Cup even before the three-month grind of the Stanley Cup playoffs even began.

“Even before the playoffs started, I had a really, really good feeling. I was almost scared to have that kind of feeling. A few of us teammates talked about it that we’ve had good years and good teams in the past where we thought we had a chance. But in the process of talking about it, we knew this would be more than just a chance. We knew that there’s something different about the team and that it was a legitimate shot. When it really sunk in was after the first round because the first round is just so tough, doesn’t matter what year it is. I think it’s the toughest round of the playoffs. To get by the way we did against Montreal, that series was so close and our team got so much better from the beginning to the end of it. I think after that first round I had a really, really great feeling.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Andrew Ference, Bruins make their Cup run last with tattoos 06.20.11 at 2:47 pm ET
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Andrew Ference is far and away the most heavily-tattooed man on the Bruins. While the likes of Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin sport notable ink as well, Ference is essentially the Travis Barker of the team’s dressing room.

That’s why it’s no surprise that he set up a tattoo room for the Stanley Cup champions on their final day at the Garden. Ference, who travels to Calgary every offseason to get his ink done at the Smilin’ Buddha parlor, said Sunday that the plan to celebrate a Cup championship with tattoos was a long time in the making. Ference’s tattoo artist told him back in 2007 that if the Bruins ever won the Cup, he’d be there.

“I usually have to back there to get tattoos finished or done during the summer, and he told me years ago when I first got traded to Boston, he said that he loves Boston and has always wanted to come here,” Ference said. “He told me right then, ‘If you guys ever win, I’ll come down and tat all you guys up.’ I’ve seen him every year since, and he tells me every year, so I sent him a quick email after we won, and he hopped on a plain, and here he is.”

Ference said that “probably over half” of his teammates would be getting tattoos to commemorate the Cup run.

“Different things,” Ference said. “Some guys are just getting some writing, some guys are getting the ‘B’ or the Cup and ‘B’ combo or something like that. I think [Mark Recchi] is getting all of his done from past Stanley Cups.”

Ference, whose arms are nearly covered in tattoos, said he is “getting the spoked ‘B’ for sure,” while other teammates seemed uncertain as to what they’d be getting.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Mark Recchi, Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin
Andrew Ference happy to share Cup with Boston, surprised by Kevin Bieksa’s comments 06.18.11 at 5:39 pm ET
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Andrew Ference had waited all 32 years of his life, including a devastating Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup finals with Calgary, before finally winning the Cup with the Bruins.

The city of Boston has waited 39 years. The fans win.

To be able to bring the Cup to Boston has been special for Ference and his teammates, who feel they can identify with fans now more than ever. It’s what they have in common, Ference feels, that makes the city’s celebration of the Cup even more special.

“I just feel like everybody feels like we do,” Ference said Saturday. “We’ve waited our whole lives to win it, and put in a lot of work and dedication and we finally get to raise the Cup, but all the hockey fans here have put in their hard work, too, supporting the teams and waiting so long. It’s amazing how many people come up and introduce themselves as season ticket-holders for x-number of years. That’s hard work. That’s support and that’s incredible dedication to the sport and to the team. Of course they’re as excited as we are, so it’s amazing.”

Ference, who took the Cup through Boston in a stroller, earlier in the week, said it was total blur when he raised the trophy for the first time.

“It really happened so quick, and even the whole time on the ice is just kind of a blur and busy. You’re in disbelief. It was great on the ice, but it was more fun almost in the locker room after to real savor it. On the ice, you’re really just hoping for a good picture so you can put it on the wall.”

LAY OFF THE JACKET

Ference said Saturday that his team drew no motivation from the lack of respect it received during the Stanley Cup finals, but did not that he was surprised that players such as Kevin Bieksa bad-mouthed them to the media.

Bieksa, of course, made fun of the 1980′s jacket that Ference bought on eBay for $35 — a hideous sight to any eyes — that one player wears after each game to denote the team’s most valuable player. Bieksa called the tradition childish, asking, “Don’t Pee Wee teams have that?”

“It just surprised me that he would say that publicly,” Ference said Saturday. “How does that benefit them? I don’t know. Even if you think it, you can chirp us all you want in your own locker room. Publicly, it’s just more surprising. I didn’t care, it doesn’t hurt our feelings. We love it and what it represents. Yeah, just to say some things publicly were surprising because it does absolutely no good for your own team.”

The Bruins got the last laugh, of course, as the Stanley Cup ended up wearing the jacket as the team celebrated in the visitors room at Rogers Arena Wednesday.

NOT ALL VANCOUVER FANS ARE BAD

Aside from a chorus of boos for commissioner Gary Bettman, the Canucks fans were respectful of the Bruins when they won the Cup, cheering as Zdeno Chara lifted the historic trophy, and getting louder for the likes of Tim Thomas and Vancouver native Milan Lucic. The Green Men, who famously harass opponents, even held a “Congrats Milan” sign. Ference said he and the Bruins appreciated how they were treated by the fans, and that the riots that ensued don’t typify all those who root for the Canucks.

“As much as bad stuff happened from some people there, there’s still some great, great hockey fans that respect the game,” Ference said. “You don’t want to taint everybody from what a few people messed up after the game.”

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Bruins probably hope second time’s a charm for Andrew Ference 06.14.11 at 11:11 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference may be playing for his first Stanley Cup championship, but Wednesday night in Vancouver won’t be his first Game 7 of the finals. Ference has been one win away from the Cup before, but it wasn’t as memorable an experience as he would have hoped.

Ference and his Flames led the Lightning, three games to two, in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals before Tampa Bay took Game 6 in double overtime to force a seventh game. In that decisive contest, Ference led all Calgary skaters in ice time, but with the Flames trailing, 2-1, in the third period, he took a charging penalty with 1:01. The Lightning held on to seal Game 7 and hoist the Cup at St. Pete Times Forum.

Asked Tuesday at Rogers Arena whether being in another Game 7 with the Cup on the line, Ference wasn’t his generally elaborate self, saying he hasn’t given much thought to the way things panned out last time he got the chance.

“You don’t have to block [the memories] out,” Ference explained. “It was a long time ago. I don’t know. You obviously remember it and stuff like that, but it’s not really on my mind.”

Like the Bruins this year, the 2004 Flames had to deal with a seven-game series more than once. Ference’s squad opened that postseason as the No. 6 seed and defeated the No. 3 Canucks in seven. They then eliminated the Red Wings and Sharks (both in six games), to reach the finals and eventually come one victory away from wining it all.

Coming as close as he did to winning it in ’04 doesn’t give the 32-year-old Edmonton native any more motivation to winning the Cup. Though he’s been so close he could taste it before, he never felt the urge to close out the series was lacking. He just learned the hard way that one team wins, and one team loses.

“I had all the motivation last time as well,” Ference said. “Sometimes it shakes out the right way for you, and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t think the approach is any different or the desire is any stronger. It’s the same. You just hope that the team that you’re on puts it together.”

Ference, like Mark Recchi, can use their experience in the final game of the postseason to prepare guys who haven’t been there before. The second-pairing blue-liner likes to think he’s helped his teammates get ready for it all year.

“You talk about it all year. You become friends with people on your team,” he said. “It’s not like you just start talking about these things when you’re in the situation. You live together all year and spend so much time together that stuff like that is always talked about.”

After Wednesday night, perhaps Ference won’t have any pointers left to give his teammates. If they’re all Stanley Cup champions, they’ll be on the same page.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Ference, Mark Recchi, Stanley Cup Finals
Michael Ryder: We will do ‘everything’ to win it for Nathan Horton at 1:24 am ET
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The singular turning point of the series has also turned into a rally cry for the Bruins, as Michael Ryder acknowledged after scoring a goal in Boston’s 5-2 win over Vancouver in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night at TD Garden.

With the crowd already in a frenzy following two quick goals to start the game, the video board at the Garden showed Nathan Horton in the zamboni area waving a Bruins black and gold hanky. Horton was shown live for the first time since being knocked to the ice with a severe concussion exactly one week ago on hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3. He has been ruled out of the playoffs.

“Horty’s a big part of this team and he’s one of the reasons we’re where we are,” Ryder said. “He’s a great guy and it’s good to see him a lot better and we know he’s excited and he wants us to win. We have to make sure we do everything we can to pull it off for him.”

“We didn’€™t know that they were going to be doing that and showing him up there,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “You know for him to come in and give us that boost of energy is unbelievable. And obviously the crowd loves it and loves him and are supporting him every minute of the day. It was great to see him out there. He gave us a big energy boost.

Two and a half minutes later, Andrew Ference fired a slap shot past Roberto Luongo on the power play for Boston’s third goal and pandemonium ensued with the Bruins up, 3-0, and Luongo chased to the bench.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aaron Rome, Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins
Andrew Ference says B’s won’t be scared by the magnitude of the moment 06.13.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference believes he and his teammates won’t be scared or intimidated by the Stanley Cup being in the building tonight, ready to be raised on Garden ice if the Canucks win.

“We’ve had our back up against a wall a few times and I think that we’ve performed well under those circumstances. I think a lot of guys feel like this is another opportunity to go out there and prove ourselves and seize the moment,” Ference said.

Ference and the Bruins have faced elimination twice in the playoffs so far, winning both games on home ice by one goal, including Game 7 against Montreal in overtime in the first round.

“It doesn’t sound right but we’ve been here as a team,” Ference said. “Obviously, the Cup is on the line tonight but I think we felt like that against Montreal when we were down. Against Philly, there was such focus on getting back and Tampa went to Game 7. We’ve had our back up against the wall a few times and I think we’ve performed well under those circumstances.”

For Ference, this is his second time in a Game 6 of the Cup finals. Back in 2004 – with Calgary – the Flames were just one win away and could’ve clinched with a win on home ice. But instead, the Lightning survived and forced a Game 7, one which Tampa Bay prevailed, 2-1.

“Second time around is easier,” Ference said. “I remember the first time with Calgary mostly your mind gets pretty busy. But also, I was in a different situation. I was up 3-2 with Calgary so the mind works in different ways. But this time is a little easier.”

Ference – like every Bruin – will look to feed off the sizable energy in the Garden, a place the Bruins have outscored the Canucks, 12-1, in two blowout wins in Games 3 and 4.

“The city’s excited,” Ference said. “It’s been a long run and lots of ups and downs and crazy stuff but obviously, everybody can smell a finish coming up soon and wants us obviously, to continue the story fro another game.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins, Canada
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