Yesterday, I wrote an article on how lucky we were to dodge a bullet over the hit made by Andrew Ference on Mikhail Grabovski. Well, I was wrong. The NHL issued its first ‘Shanaban’ to the Bruins this season. Andrew Ference was suspended for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal game against Toronto to be played tomorrow night.
Ference was called to task for a hit that saw the Bruins defensemen hit Grabovski in the head with his elbow thirteen minutes into the game. In the end, no penalty was called on the play. Nazem Kadri got the puck and the game kept going. The action of the game was moving at a blistering pace, and it’s likely none of the refs saw it. Someone in Toronto saw it though, and send the hit to the department of player safety for review. Here is a replay of the hit and the official verdict from the NHL.
This is Andrew Ference’s second career suspension over the course of a thirteen year career.
As I see it, this will not severly impact the way the Bruins play in Game 2. Ference did play twenty minutes in game one, and was part of the shooting gallery assault on James Reimer. In lieu of Ference, Coach Claude Julien has a few options available to him. He could activate Dougie Hamilton, hoping that Dougie could repeat the amazing run Tyler Seguin had for the Bruins in their 2011 Cup Championship. I think Dougie is ready for this challenge, and is probably chomping on the bit to get into the action.
As much as I want to see Dougie earn his stripes in the post season, I’m pretty sure Julien is going to turn to another veteran. We will probably see Aaron Johnson pulled off the healthy scratch line to make his Bruins playoffs debut. While Johnson has no more NHL playoff expierence than Hamilton, I believe the coach is probably saving the recent 7th Player Award winner to be unleashed at the right time.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will also be down a defenseman for Game 2. Michael Kostka, the Leafs top d-man, will be out due to a broken finger sustained in the second period of Game 1, where the Bruins handily defeated the Leafs 4-1.