Is there friction in the Bruins’ dressing room?

The Bruins are the Canadiens foe tonight and the big story around them lately has been the remarks of defenceman Andrew Ference last Thursday following the blindside hit by teammate Daniel Paille on Dallas forward Raymond Sawada (below).

Sawada suffered a separated shoulder and a broken nose from the hit and the NHL suspended Paille for four games. Afterward, in the Bruins dressing room, Ference raised more than a few eyebrows when he criticized Paille for the hit.

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Ference said he had thought a good deal about the way Sidney Crosby had
reacted, not being critical of Penguins teammate Matt Cooke after
Cooke’s blindside headshot on Marc Savard last year but outspoken about
blindside hits in January after he had been the victim. Ference said he wanted to be a good teammate, but he also felt it was important to not go against principle.

“I mean, it’s a bad hit, right?” Ference said on the Bruins’ NESN post-game show (video) That’s what they’re trying to get rid of
and you can’t be a hypocrite and complain about it when it happens to
you, and say it’s fine when your teammate does it. So, it’s a hit
they’re trying to get rid of. I mean you hear it from every player after
they do it, and they feel bad, and it’s same thing: I talked to Danny
and he feels bad. It’s tough. That backchecking forward, to make those
kind of hits now, it’s so hard to do it in a clean fashion with the new
rules. So, it is what it is. He hurt the guy, and I’m sure he’ll have a
little conversation.”

And just so everyone heard him, shortly after, interviewed on the NHL Network, Ference said “The worst thing is when guys are hypocritical about hits and when a guy’s on your team, you hate to see that happen just as much as when your guy doe sit to somebody else. So it’s the hit they’re trying to get rid of. Whether it happens to us or we do it, it can’t happen and I’m sure, you know, I just talked to (Paille) two seconds ago and he feels awful about it and I’m sure that’s the same sentiment as anybody that has one of those hits. But at the end of the day, it’s the hit they’re trying to get rid of, it’s a hit that hurt the guy and it’s one of those things. You’ve got to get rid of it and it’s dangerous.”

Many in the media praised Ference for his honesty but, needless to say, Ference’s words didn’t sit very well with some of his teammates, including Paille, who said he didn’t think it was a bad hit and most of his teammates would agree. Some, like Bob McKenzie speaking Friday morning on the Team 990, said the big problem with Ference’s opinion was that he offered it before the NHL came down with a ruling.

Trying to diffuse any controversy, Patrice Bergeron, who also has been a headshot concussion victim, restated his position (video) that players have to be aware of the way they hit an opponant and denied there was a problem in the B’s room calling any bad feelings “more smoke than fire in the media.”

Don Cherry wasn’t buying it. After the B’s dropped a 2-0 game to the Sharks on Saturday afternoon, he blasted Ference on Coach’s Corner Saturday night (video) saying even if your teammate is an axe murderer, “you never go to the press and say that was a bad hit….I’d hate to be in that dressing room right now. See what happened in the
game today? 2-0. That brings your dressing room down when you have a
guy in the dressing room talking about your own players and you know
he’s going to be suspended.”

And it hasn’t died down yet. In this morning’s Boston Globe, sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy led off his piece with “Andrew Ference is my hero,” and went on from there not just to recount the entire incident but to ask a number of players what they think about Ference and Paille. He asked the two if they had second thoughts about things but they stuck to their guns. He asked Savard, who said he hadn’t known about the remarks. He spoke to GM Peter Chiarelli who seemed to take the team-first position, saying perhaps Ference should have watched the hit on tape before saying anything.

Mark Recchi explained to Shaughnessy he thought there really isn’t any friction “Andrew’s our teammate. They’re great
teammates and they’ve got each other’s back. Andrew was speaking in the
emotion after the game. It’s unfortunate that he’s taking the heat for
this. Andrew’s been a great teammate and great to all of us. He’d have
Danny’s back any day.

“I
don’t think it’s a violation. Obviously it can get touchy and it’s
created a big stir. But we know Andrew is going to be there for us as a
teammate and a friend.’’

It will be interesting to watch the Bruins down the stretch to see if they are still the united team that they’ve been so far this season.


122 Comments

  1. Say Ash says:

    They should just take interviews one question at a time.

  2. Wayne says:

    Wow, Ducks gave away alot there. I’ll take Lupul…

  3. Ton says:

    do you on occasion wonder if we could have gotten more for the best goalie in the world (at that time). I think we could have. It was the perfect time to get rid of him with his value being at the highest level ever.

  4. 24 Cups says:

    I read that, too.  Of course they have to realize they can’t have it both ways in terms of keeping both their health and their full salaries.

    It’s really a simple problem to fix if the players choose to change their mindset.  It would only take a few months to clean up the crisis if the players’ resolve is truly there.

    Don’t hold your breath (and keep your head up, too).

  5. dh says:

    You won’t know for sure unless he has an “MAB Rocks” on his mask.

  6. dh says:

    Julien actually said during an interview that the main repsonsibility is of the guy getting hit. Speaks a lot for the culture IMO.

  7. ManApart says:

    Kaberle is easily the best defenceman on that team. With Schenn really starting to make progress as #2. I don’t get Burke’s anti Kabby stance as his constant desire to trade the guy.

  8. Chuck says:

    My grandfather used to leave Post-It notes on everything. Perhaps they can stick ‘em on the foreheads of their grandkids.

  9. Ton says:

    in order to acknowledge where the first mistake was made one must venture into the past. Still he has size, speed, and needs seasoning in the ahl. He should develop into a solid player one day.

  10. ManApart says:

    I think the Fisher, Neil upgrade over AK46 and let’s say Eller or Pyatt, is a lot greater than the difference between having Picard as a 6th, rather than Webber. I really am not comfortable with either come playoff time. So make the deal and then look for another stay at home, solid defenseman to pick up in the Gorges mold. There will be some out there come trade deadline.

  11. SeriousFan09 says:

    That makes Alex Picard one of the Top 6 defencemen, that is not being serious about a playoff run. With Markov and Gorges out, the team can’t make bold moves since they’re lacking the blue line strength to go all the way.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.

  12. ManApart says:

    AK46 and Yannik Webber for Mike Fisher and Chris Neil? Hate to trade Webber at this point, but wthe Habs need the physicality Neil and Fisher can bring, if they are serious about a playoff run.

  13. fbkj says:

    senators are going to blow it up, kostitsyn imo is not the type of player any team would want in a rebuild

  14. HabFanSince72 says:

    Another option if the players don’t want fines is to force teams to keep paying the players during the suspension.

    And dock the team points. 1 point off for every 4 games a player is suspended.

     

  15. ManApart says:

    I don’t know, maybe not. From their point of view though, AK could be attractive. He’s still young, and has some real upside. Ottawa has absolutely no scoring on that team or in the pipe. They need a young top line winger to stick with Spezza and Alfie next season. I think a change of scenery, where AK is given bigger minutes and #1 PP time could do some good for him. Especially with a great passer like Spezza. Webber is also an attractive, young, cheap, Defenseman that has some great potential to be a Mark Streit. I can really see this trade addressing the needs of both sides.

  16. fbkj says:

    from what the internets is tellin me, and the internets never lies, is that spezza is probably going to get traded

     

  17. JasonM says:

    We did it last year with MAB.

  18. savethepuck says:

    Weber along with PK will both be top 6 reliable and very inexpensive DMen next season.  It will also give us cap space for other things.  Getting rid of Weber is a huge mistake IMO

  19. LA Loyalist says:

    Are goalie fights coming back in style?

    Is Ron Hextall coming out of retirement?

    Do Islanders still have Billy Smith’s rights?

    Man, it’s like bell bottoms.  You wait long enough…

  20. ManApart says:

    I really like Weber, but you have to give up something to get something. This team is in dire need of some grit for the playoffs. If you don’t get it, it will be a quick exit as usual. Mark my words. Weber is replaceable, maybe even by Emelin. There is no grit in this entire organization. To get two players who have character and grit and toughness and can really play is what this team really needs.

  21. ManApart says:

    What are you talking about? Mike Fisher is only 31 and is a very good 2 way forward, who can play in all situations and is physical. He would fit perfectly into JM’s system. He has proven he can score at the same or better rate than AK, who is a one-dimensional player. Chris Neil is EXACTLY what this team needs. He is pretty big, very tough and can play the game. If you don’t want a repeat of last year’s Flyer’s series, this type of move is a must. It’s time to be bold and make a move, like Yzerman or Sherro. Not continuously spin our wheels like a Gainey sitting in the same spot for half a decade.

  22. MikeMcLaren says:

    Am I the only one who saw this headline and thought to himself, “Hmph, maybe they should use some lube?”

    Just askin’.

    /\\ike
    GO HABS GO!

  23. AH says:

    “There is no grit in this entire organization.”

    So true.

    oops..was replying to Manapart below, forgot to hit “reply”.

  24. The Cat says:

    Those 2 though probably would have lots of takers, somebody will offer more for them, but I dont think the Sens want to lose those 2 unless its a hell of a deal.

    [Disclaimer]: I’m a hockey fan. I care about the habs, but probably not as much as you.

  25. fbkj says:

    ottawa is going into rebuild mode, from what im reading, alfie is the only untouchable (out of loyalty)

  26. LA Loyalist says:

    As to Eller, why doesn’t PG have the balls to say “He’s in Hamilton learning his trade.” What is wrong with that, rather than humiliating the kid up here?

  27. ManApart says:

    You are probably right. i would be willing to sweeten the pot with a 2nd rounder or maybe a guy like frost bite Kristo or Maxwell.

  28. ManApart says:

    I really doubt that. Maybe eventually, but not right now. It would be tough to get fair value for him, considering his contract. Even if he is traded, Ottawa needs some young offensive talent badly. They can’t rely on Corey Locke and Peter Regin to be their future scorers. I think it would be an excellent trade for Montreal and it can really make sense for Ottawa.

  29. Duracell3 says:

    What you said~

  30. fbkj says:

    see heres the problem, you say things that sooo obviously stick out, you are going to get a million retorts now for using “it will be a quick exit as usual”

    you know your going to get slagged for that right? you HAVE to know…

    and then when you do, it splinters off into a million different pissing contests man… ah

    anywhoo i agree the team needs more grit in fact id be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees

    but who replaces weber this season?


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