The Bruins Andrew Ference, who showed one aspect of his character in early February, when he criticized his teammate Dan Paille for a head shot on the Dallas Stars Raymond Sawada, showed another last night in Montreal when he made an obsence gesture to Bell Centre fans after scoring Boston’s first goal in his team’s 4-3 comeback victory.
The NHL announced this morning it was fining Ference $2500 for his highly unprofessional salute.
Ference’s actions are somewhat different than those of the Sharks Joe Thornton’s after he scored last night in Los Angeles.
Ference’s fine is substantially less than the two-game suspension the NHL gave James Wisniewski when he was with the Islanders during the regular season for his obscene gesture toward Sean Avery (video) in an Islanders-Rangers game on Oct. 11.
Anyone who thought the unwritten rule that supplementary discipline in the playoffs was halved from that of the regular season will be surprised at the Ference ruling, but — as those in Hockey Operations like to say — each infraction has to be judged on its own merits, so we are left to assume that Ference’s gesture was somehow less offensive than Wisniewski’s. Or that an obscene gesture to the fans is less offensive than one to another player. Or something.
Ference said afterward in the Bruins’ Bell Centre dressing room, “Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful. I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been.
“So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks.”
The Boston Herald wrote this morning, “The veteran defenseman has given Bruins fans a poster to hang on their walls for all time,” and “He might’ve earned himself legions of new Habs-hating fans across New England.”
Anticipating some sort of action from the league, The Herald went on to testify about Ferrence’s good nature and they chronicled the fine deeds on his resume. “His work with political, environmental and humanitarian causes is well-documented, including his spearheading of the NHL carbon neutral program and his trip to Africa with Right to Play. Even his in-game fights usually only occur when he’s coming to the defense of a teammate,” they wrote.
On the Team 990 Morning Show, Elliot Price recalled when St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Gary Templeton was suspended indefinitely by his own team in 1981 and fined him $5000 after Templeton grabbed his crotch when St. Louis fans booed him for not running out a ground ball.
No one is expecting the Bruins to take any similar action against Ference.