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Andrew Ference on D&C: Tim Thomas ‘trying not to be a distraction’ 02.10.12 at 11:18 am ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and spent some time addressing the issue of whether Tim Thomas‘ political statements have become a distraction to the team.

The Bruins have struggled to a 5-6-1 record since Thomas ignited the controversy by skipping the team’s trip to the White House on Jan. 23. Thomas on Thursday told the media that he would not answer questions about politics any more.

“I think when he doesn’€™t want to talk about it in the locker room, I think he’€™s trying to not be a distraction,” Ference said. “Like I said, in this city you definitely have to be aware of the fact that whether you like it or not, your comments and your actions are going to be scrutinized. And to a certain extent, rightfully so. We’re compensated very well to be sports figures in this town, which also comes with a certain responsibility socially.”

Added Ference: “He makes the views pretty clear. I don’t think he leaves too many blank spaces for people to guess where he stands. So, it’s his choice whether to answer or not. I think he makes it more difficult on himself not to just talk about it if he’s going to put it out there. But for us as teammates, it’s really not that difficult. Like I said, we know him. We can kind of just keep our mouths shut about it because nobody really wants to wade into that. I don’t know, it’s a mixed bag, I guess.”

Ference insisted that it doesn’t really matter what Thomas or anyone says, that it comes down to how the Bruins perform on the ice.

“We do have a tight team,” Ference said. “One of the things that makes us pretty strong is we’re very understanding of each other’s differences. … You’re never going to have the same opinions whatsoever. But the thing that makes teams good is their ability to look beyond that and respect each other even if you don’t agree with each other. Our job first and foremost isn’t to be buddies. It’s to be good teammates and play hard for each other and do whatever you can to win hockey games. That’s the most important thing. Good teams and good players realize that, and they can separate the fact that they agree with somebody or not about politics. It really doesn’t matter once you hit the ice.”

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Andrew Ference ready to return from suspension 02.01.12 at 6:12 pm ET
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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.”

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Andrew Ference suspended three games for hit on Ryan McDonagh 01.22.12 at 1:55 pm ET
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The NHL announced Sunday that Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been suspended three games for his hit on Ryan McDonagh Saturday.

Ference and McDonagh were both chasing a puck Ference had chipped behind Henrik Lundqvist’s net in overtime when Ference shoved the Rangers blueliner into the endboards.

The B’s defenseman, who had tied a career high with his fourth goal of the season earlier in the game, was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. The Bruins remained on the penalty kill until Marian Gaborik scored with 3.6 remaining to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory.

With Ference out, Steven Kampfer will be in the Bruins’ lineup Sunday in Philadelphia.

Ference’s suspension is the Bruins’ third of the season, which ties the Flames for most suspensions for a team this season. Milan Lucic (one game in December) and Brad Marchand (five games earlier this month) are the other two Bruins to b suspended this season.

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Andrew Ference hopes to avoid suspension after hit on Ryan McDonagh 01.21.12 at 4:46 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference put the Bruins in a tight spot Saturday when his dangerous hit on Ryan McDonagh in overtime put the Rangers on the power play until Marian Gaborik won the game with 3.6 seconds remaining.

The play, which resulted in a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct, came when Callahan and Ference were racing for a puck behind the Rangers’ net.

“I’m obviously going as fast as I can to get to the puck, and when I realized I wasn’t going to get there first, he boxed me out,” Ference said. “I tried to lean back, but I was going too fast. Obviously it was a dangerous position. I tried to let up and didn’t let up fast enough.”

Ference might receive a call from NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan over the hit, and could become the third Bruin this season to be suspended after Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.

“I honestly haven’t seen the replay, so I don’t know how it looks,” Ference said. “I just know the intent — I feel like I’m leaning back, but obviously didn’t slow up fast enough. It’s really their call.”

Coach Claude Julien defended Ference, but spoke as though he expected the defenseman to hear from the league.

“Andrew Ference is not a dirty player,” Julien said. “He’s one of those guys that certainly supports what the league is trying to do as far as minimizing those injuries. It was a player chasing the puck, and when he did get hit, his legs were pretty far apart. There wasn’t a very good balance from the player, and it certainly resulted in an unfortunate thing. We’ll let the league look at it. They dissect things their own way, and we’re just waiting to hear from them.”

The Bruins recalled defenseman Steven Kampfer from Providence after the game. He will travel with the team to Philadelphia and play in the event that Ference is suspended prior to Sunday’s game.

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Andrew Ference on D&C: Patrice Bergeron ‘got everybody fired up’ for comeback vs. Devils 01.20.12 at 12:28 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference checked in with Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to discuss Thursday night’s victory over the Devils. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins scored all four goals in the final period of the 4-1 victory, including two in the final 35 seconds.

“I think we snapped out of some frustration last night,” Ference said. The first two periods were kind of same old story. Guys almost trying too hard, trying to do too much and getting frustrated, throwing stuff around. Third period, [Patrice] Bergeron had some good words just to calm everybody down and get everybody back on track. Obviously, it helps to get an early goal and their team really deflated but we definitely picked up our game.”

Added Ference: “Bergy got everybody fired up. We’re mature enough and have an experienced enough team to know to do better than what we were doing, to let the frustration kind of use up all our energy. So, it was just a matter of instead of complaining about the reffing or complaining about this or that, just going out and doing our jobs and doing them well and taking pride in it. Nothing too complicated. But you have to kind of hit reset every once in a while and get everybody on the same page.”

The Bruins have a highly anticipated game against the Rangers this Saturday. The Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference with 62 points, with the Bruins in second with 61.

“They’re a really good team,” Ference said. “I think that they’re one of those teams that you have to respect the way they play and the way they approach the game. Obviously, they’re doing a great job this year.”

Ference also gave his prediction for Sunday’s AFC championship game between the Patriots and Ravens:  “28-14, Patriots.” As for the NFC game between the 49ers and Giants: “I’m hoping for the 49ers,” he said, explaining: “I just don’t want a New York team in there.”

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Gregory Campbell’s Gordie Howe hat trick leads Bruins past Devils 01.19.12 at 9:31 pm ET
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Gregory Campbell led the way with a Gordie Howe hat trick as the Bruins got back to winning Thursday night, defeating the Devils, 4-1, in Newark, N.J.

Danius Zubrus set up Petr Sykora‘s 12th goal of the season late in the first period to give New Jersey the lead. The two teams played a scoreless second period before Andrew Ference tied the game with a shot from the top of the circle in the third period. Nathan Horton gave the B’s their first lead of the night on the power play, scoring his third goal in the last two games.

Thirty-five seconds later, Campbell buried a rebound off a Shawn Thornton shot, giving the Bruins a two-goal lead with more than half a period left to play. Chris Kelly added an empty-netter.

Campbell’s goal sealed the Gordie Howe hat trick for him, as he fought Brad Mills in the first period and assisted Ference’s goal.

The Bruins will next play Saturday when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

— One of the things that has made the Bruins such a good team this year has been their play in the third period — a time that they have used the period to either get leads or add to them. Thursday was no different. The B’s four unanswered goals improved their third-period differential to a whopping plus-37.

— Ference’s goal was his first in 25 games, but he’s still been having a very good season from a statistical standpoint. Ference isn’t relied upon for his scoring. His third goal of the season tied his personal best with the Bruins (he had three last season; four is his career high). Ference now has 18 points, which is the most he’s had in a single season since he had 31 with the Flames in the 2005-06 season.

— The Bruins are no strangers to scoring two goals in a minute, and they did it for the 14th time this season when Campbell followed Horton’s goal with a tally of his own. The shift that follows a goal is always a crucial one, and Claude Julien has often trusted the fourth line to take those important shifts. It paid off again Thursday.

— Thomas had allowed seven goals over his previous two starts entering Thursday night, but he was able to bounce back and bring his ‘A’ game to New Jersey, robbing David Clarkson on a rebound in the second period as one of 28 saves the reigning Vezina winner made on the night.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

David Krejci‘s line continued to allow goals, something Julien called the trio out for Tuesday night. Krejci won the faceoff in the Bruins’ zone prior to the Devils’ first goal, but Zubrus got to the puck behind the net and fed Sykora. Because Horton’s goal came on the power play, he has been a minus-4 over the last three games.

— The B’s had just six shots on goal in the first period for the third consecutive game. The B’s have been plagued by slow starts in recent games, and though the B’s came out looking less sloppy than they did Tuesday, they still need stronger starts to these contests. They have one first-period goal in the last four games.

— The Joe Corvo-Dennis Seidenberg pairing has become dangerous for the Bruins. Corvo has struggled mightily in his own zone of late, and Seidenberg has been catching some really bad bounces. The B’s saw a couple of those in the second period, including one puck that bounced off Seidenberg and right to a flying Ilya Kovalchuk in the neutral zone, but neither cost the B’s.

Brad Marchand, who was playing in his first contest since being suspended five games for his hit on Sami Salo, had a rather quiet return to the lineup. The second-line winger had no shots on goal Thursday night.

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Andrew Ference on D&C: Bruins ‘ready to respond’ to Canucks 01.06.12 at 12:05 pm ET
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Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and talked about Saturday’s Stanley Cup finals rematch against the Canucks, coach Claude Julien‘s coaching style, and Thursday’s 9-0 beatdown of the Flames.

Thursday’s rout of the Flames was the Bruins’ ninth win in 10 games and their second straight home rout of eight goals or more. For Ference, though, it wasn’t the type of game he likes to play in.

“The tight games are more fun than that,” he said. “The nail-biters when you come out on the right side are a little more enjoyable than that. That was a defeated team out there last night. I don’€™t know if you want to call it sympathy, but we don’€™t have any sympathy for guys you play against. But that sucks to be on the other side of that.”

Ference said he didn’t feel bad for Calgary and that it was important the Bruins didn’t stop playing hard.

“You don’€™t want to gloat about it,” Ference said. “You want to keep playing your game. Obviously, we have bigger things to worry about than feeling bad for Calgary. But you don’€™t want to throw it in their face. We stopped celebrating and coming by the bench when we scored goals. We don’€™t stop playing, you keep playing your game, but we’€™re not celebrating after the goals. You try to be a little bit more muted about stuff like that. But you can’€™t stop playing, you can’€™t let your guard down. That’€™s when guys get hurt, is when you let your guard down, when you let up or start playing a little easier. You can’€™t do it.”

Ference said that the Bruins are much further ahead of where anyone expected them to be at this point in the season, something that he attributes to the a strong core group of players with a winner’s mentality.

“I think after that first month where we kind of just, I don’€™t know, I don’€™t know what we were doing but I think we kind of just picked up back at the hockey that we were playing during the spring,” Ference said. “That playoff kind of hockey is one where its great consistency, every line is playing the same style, not really taking any shifts off, and that’€™s something that a lot of teams build up toward during the spring. And I think as the season goes, the games get closer and closer and closer because teams are tightening up their defense, and I think we kind of just skipped a couple of steps this year. We’€™re kind of just playing that good spring hockey but at a different time of the year, so that’€™s obviously what we’€™re trying to work up and get better and stay sharp and do all those things as well. And that’€™s probably the biggest thing we have to remember, we can’€™t just get comfortable and be satisfied because the teams around us are going to get better.”

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