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Bruins GM says Andrew Ference won’t face suspension for hit on Jeff Halpern

Apr 28, 2011, 1:33 PM EDT

Andrew Ference AP

Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told assembled media members that defenseman Andrew Ference won’t face a suspension for his high hit on Montreal Canadiens forward Jeff Halpern. You can find video footage of that questionable check at the bottom of this post.

Personally, I’m a bit torn on the hit. On one hand, it’s not as brutal as many of the worst hits we’ve seen so far during the playoffs. Ference didn’t hit him from behind or drive Halpern’s head into the boards.

Then again, that might just be “ugly hit fatigue” talking. It was still an unnecessary hit that left Halpern staggering and there was contact with his head. Beyond the fact that it was a shoulder to the head, the most troubling part of that play was that the puck wasn’t near either skater. It’s an ugly situation, but by no means the ugliest (which is sad, but still).

Ultimately, there are a few disturbing trends developing. Obviously, conspiracy theorists will point out that Ference theoretically benefited from his connection to the Bruins, a team that employs Colin Campbell’s son Gregory Campbell.

Speaking more realistically, though, there’s a troubling pattern of decisions by the NHL. It seems like a player can get away with far more late in a series than in its early games. Ference won’t face a suspension for a Game 7 hit, Milan Lucic didn’t get a suspension for a boarding hit in Game 6 and Mike Richards didn’t face a suspension for boarding Tim Connolly in Game 6 of the Sabres-Flyers series.

The Richards non-suspension is the most stomach-turning decision, but they all make the most jaded among us wonder if these decisions are truly coincidental.

Overall, I’m not outraged by this choice, at least in the context of the league’s laughably illogical suspension process. It’s not the worst hit of the playoffs, even if supplemental discipline would have been acceptable. Perhaps we’ll just have to live with the NHL’s baffling process and just try to enjoy the games, even as we watch players deal with unnecessary injuries.

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  1. ballistictrajectory - Apr 28, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Mr. O’Brien neds to look at the video again, perhaps several times. Jeff Halpern went a VERY long way to make contact with Ference, who at the time was almost motionless. Halperns skated at least 20 feet toward a slowly coasting Ference, who then braced himself for a collision. Just prior to the contact you can plainly see Halpern turning his head up ice to give the impression that the upcoming hit would be a blindside shot to the head. It is clearly deliberate on the the part of Halpern and there should be some consequence for the Montreal organization for fostering that kind of thinking on the team. Jack Edwards said it right in his video about diving, The Rocket must be spinning in his grave.

    Montreal has foresaken all of their dignity as an NHL team by using this decidedly unsportsmanlike behavior to attempt to swing momentum in their favor. Ask any of their opponents. The league should introduce some new supplementary discipline that can be assessed after the game to penalize those players and teams that resort to such cowardly conduct. Perhaps suspensions and fines for deliberate attempt to draw a foul.

    Andrew Ference is a solid player, a stad-up guy, and does not deserve the press he’s received for this obvious attempt to tarnish his reputation. Carey Price deserves better players in front of him, but the classless Montreal organization will not do that when it’s cheaper to train the team to fall on command.

    • classic13 - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:35 PM

      You guys are sad… You have to blame the Bruins idiocies on the opposite players, like they dive etc. Sure, Halpern WANTED a hit to the head(?). Are you an idiot? Listen to the commentator doing the broadcast, even he says how Ferrence leaned into Halpern… Wake up and realize that the only reason Bruins don’t get suspensions is because of Campbell connection.

  2. homelanddefense - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    this was also the second time in this series that a Montreal player laid on the ice like he was DEAD and returned to the game a shift later.

    Add that to Subbans RIDICULOUS flop in this game, and Hamrlik’s clear dive (that might have actually cost Montreal a goal) and you begin to see a clear pattern.

  3. iaintafrate - Apr 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    You can add Lucic’s hit on Sissy Spacek to that list. Spacek clearly turned away from Lucic (and the play) when he saw the hit coming. Then proceeded to writhe around on the ice like he was hit with a cannonball. As soon as the major penalty was assessed, another miraculous recovery. This team is so shamelessly blatant with their cowardice, it really is a disgrace to the game. And their pathetic fans making excuses for this farce is even worse. Hopefully the image of Hamrlik in the fetal position while the B’s are scoring will be forever etched into their collective memories.

    • classic13 - Apr 28, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      Didn’t you see the blood on the ice? Wake up!!

  4. bowlhounds - Apr 28, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    After watching all the BS penalties called sgainst Boston in game 6, Montreal must have figured they had a proven method to win the series,what a bunch of sallies.

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