NHL Hockey Operations has decided not to suspend Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference for sticking his shoulder into the head of Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern during the third period of Wednesday’s Game 7 in Boston. Halpern was flattened to the ice on the play and no penalty was called. But the NHL did review the video and TSN reported they had a disciplinary phone call with Ference on Thursday morning.
The hearing was likely conducted by NHL VP Mike Murphy as Senior VP Colin Campbell does not rule on any matters concerning the Bruins since his son, Gregory, plays for Boston.
The league generally does not announce when it has merely fined a player and it is possible he was fined for the hit. Regardless, Ference will be available when the Bruins begins their second round series against the Flyers on Saturday.
Here’s how the play was seen and descirbed on NESN:
On the play, Halpern was skating deeper into the Bruins’ zone — near where Ference was standing — in anticipation of a pass from Lars Eller at the blue line as Montreal tried to cycle the puck down low. The pass was intercepted by Brad Marchand — some 30 feet from where Halpern and Ference were — and he skated the puck the other way. As Halpern went to turn and follow the play, Ference leaned into Halpern and caused his hard-capped shoulder pads to make contact with Halpern’s head.
Ference was fined $2,500 by the league last week for his single-figured gesture in Game 4 of the series at the Bell Centre.
Update: Here’s another angle from the Versus telecast. Can’t find the CBC clip, but the Hockey Night announcers were outspoken on Ference’s actions.