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Grapes talks about Ference’s hit on McDonagh

Jan 21, 2012, 10:07 PM EDT

New York Rangers v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

Different fans with different rooting interests will see the same play in different ways. But most people agree that Andrew Ference’s hit on Ryan McDonagh at the end of the game was dangerous. It was a shove in the middle of the back of McDonagh that caused an injury to the Rangers defenseman.

People can argue whether Ference is a dirty player or not—but it’s clear this was an unsafe play to a player in a precarious position (despite what the NESN announcers may have said). More importantly, it’s exactly the type of play that the league has been cracking down on this season to protect the players’ safety. We’ll see what kind of suspension is handed down from Brendan Shanahan and Co.—but we do know that the league has already set up a phone hearing with Ference.

Then there’s Don Cherry. He agreed that it “wasn’t a good hit,” but he didn’t exactly see it the same way as most people on Coach’s Corner. He went on to say that part of the onus should have been on the New York Rangers because they didn’t hold up Ference and allowed him to pursue McDonagh too quickly. He went on to say that that McDonagh needed to be aware of which players were on the ice for the opponent.

Check out the video here.

It certainly looked like a textbook example of a check from behind—the same kind of check from behind that has been suspension-worthy all season. But as Cherry implied, do any of the Rangers have ANY culpability in this situation?

  1. jrocknstuff - Jan 21, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    I’m not a fan of either team. So with an unbiased view I’d say no, none of the Rangers are at fault in any way possible. Further more, Cherry is a blow hard. Just my opinion. With no rose colored glasses, I think it was a dirty hit, worthy of a couple games.

  2. warpstonebc - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Don Cherry also hates visors.

    Not exactly the voice of caution and safety.

  3. atteckus - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Admittedly, I’m a B’s fan, but I’m also a Rangers fan. In my mind, this was definitely a charge and dangerous play. I did not see any intent to injure, though. Ference did not hit McDonagh square, like most attempts to plant the guy. And yes, I agree with Don Cherry in a certain sense (YIKES!), but for an entirely different (and much more logical) reason. McDonagh does have some very mild responsibility here. He clearly knew Ference was oncoming at great speed and that they would be battling for the puck. He turned his back to Ference and A-framed about 3 feet away from the boards. I think he knowlingly put himself in a bad position. All of that said, I believe the call on the ice was correct, but I would not give supplemental discipline to Ference.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      I’d agree Ference probably wasn’t malicious with this hit, but he was reckless since here was potential for injury with that type of hit. He has to be aware of that, particularly as a defenceman, since he’d be open to the same kind of hit. Ference did admit it was dangerous after the game.

      McDonagh doesn’t have many options on that play, he either initiates contact with Ference and plays him rather than the puck, or plays the puck and hopes Ference has enough respect to hold up or at least hug him into the boards versus push him when he’s at a distance. Either way, he know Ference is coming in with a head of steam: he likely loses in the event of contact for either option since Ference has so much momentum.

    • barkar942 - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:12 AM

      Sorry to disagree. This is a three gamer for Ference.

    • brian32556 - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:01 AM

      I hear what your saying that McDonagh knew Ference was coming. But he also expects that he isn’t going to get plowed into the boards because of all hype and suspensions. I am a Ranger fan but I do not think Ference is a dirty player or intentionally meant to harm him. I think he should have held up because that is what the league has come to expect. And kudos to Krecji for showing immediate concern for McDonagh. Honestly, when I stop and count how many NFL’ers are paralyzed from leading with their heads, its a wonder that it hasn’t happened on the ice yet!

  4. vanchuk - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    grapes, as senile and bruin blowhard as he is, has a point that would be valid on many of these types of plays. the league has, quite obviously, decided to allow more interference with forecheckers this year. it used to get called with regularity but they are allowing defensemen to give their partners a little bit of time to retrieve the puck. on this play though, there really isnt anybody in a position to hold ference up a bit. ference made a poor decision, and there is nothing that any ranger could have done to stop him. grapes is just handing out more and more examples of his senility with each passing episode. its time for him to retire.

  5. vanfoodman - Jan 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    I don’t care about Ference’s history, what he intended or what Grapes says, that was a VERY dangerous hit! McDonagh hits the boards the wrong way and he’s DEAD! Let’s get real people. That was a hit from behind into the end boards with a full head of steam. He won’t, but he should get ten games, minimum.

  6. botlecap - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    dubinsky getting undressed at the blue line is a big reason things ended up the way they did. no denying that. he could have put a hit on ference in open ice. mcdonagh has got to have more awareness for ference’s speed in that situation – and of course ference needs to have more awareness as well. there’s no malice or dirt in that play, just a stupid/reckless decision. he deserves a few games.

  7. habsman - Jan 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    If it was up to Grapes. McDonagh would be suspended for failing to get out of the way.

  8. cakrywyj - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Wait… The guy up there is a Bruins fan AND a Rangers fan? That’s more of an outrage to me than the hit…

    • nhlbruins90 - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      Yup, and I’m a Red Sox AND Yankees fan. And a Patriots AND Giants fan.

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