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Ference to meet with league over elbowing incident

May 2, 2013, 10:14 AM EDT

The elbow delivered by Boston defenseman Andrew Ference to Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski (read about it here) didn’t go unnoticed by the NHL.

According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Ference will have a 2 p.m. ET meeting with NHL Player Safety. Ference’s elbow caught Grabovski during the first period of last night’s 4-1 win by Boston. No penalty was called on the play.

In case you missed it, here’s video of the play.

Playoff suspensions are always a different beast than what goes down in the regular season because playoff games carry a lot more weight. Does Ference see any time off from this?

  1. hockeywithdrawal - May 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Can’t lead with the elbow, period. Keep them down. They just suspended Brown, granted in the regular season – but they can’t possibly send the message that leading with an elbow is ok in the playoffs.

    • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Didn’t lead with the elbow. Clearly expecting shoulder to shoulder contact and Grabovski let up resulting in the hit to the head. Same idea with a player who knows he’s going to get hit into the boards and turns his back. The result is not the fault of the player who is initiating the contact. Yes, his elbow hit his face. He wasn’t going in for the elbow though. When your expecting to hit something and you all of a sudden don’t, you put your arms up. That’s why ference’s elbow came up. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp? And stop reverting to this argument about how only Boston fans would argue this is clean. I know it may seem like a groundbreaking idea to you but people do have the ability to separate their inner fan from reality. When you revert to that crap, you clearly don’t have much to offer in the argument.

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 2, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        So you’re saying that leading with an elbow is ok if you are expecting contact, or are you saying that it’s ok to elbow someone in the face if they are about to hit you. The defense you are talking about didn’t work for Brown, either. And I don’t think it hurts my credibility at all to say that most people outside of Boston think this is a bad play. It hurts yours. I honestly don’t care who wins this series…just hope they make the statement that picking the elbow up for contact is suspendable.

      • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        I’m saying I don’t think he’ll get suspended because he wasn’t blatantly trying to hurt another player. It was a bang bang play and his elbow got up. Pretty clear there was no malicious intent there, despite the elbow. Not every bad hit is malicious or worthy of suspension. Also, just like many inside Boston may feel it is suspension worthy, many outside of Boston may feel it is not suspension worthy. Who I root for has no bearing. If that’s how you like to try and win arguments, fine..but it’s poor form. Stick to the subject.

      • mgp1219 - May 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        B’s fan for 40 years here…
        It was an elbow to the head, dirty hit. I would not complain if Ference is suspended, although I hope he isn’t. If it happened to a Bruin, there would be outrage here in Boston. Just being honest and fair here.

        Ference has been making boneheaded plays all year and he has gotten away with hits like this before. Maybe his time has come.

      • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        Disagree..but we’ll see. I take issue with the word ‘dirty’, which implies his plan all along was to elbow a player in the head. Nobody actually approaches the game that way. As for most fans in Boston, or any other city, wanting a suspension if the tables were turned in that situation, most fans are homers and have the inability to think logically. Most fans deal in extremes. I honestly would not think this is suspension worthy if it happened to a Bruin, unless it was a player with a history. Ference doesn’t have a history of that…so I’m not really sure why you think he does this stuff on a regular basis. If he has a history of dirty play, so does 90 percent of the league.

      • mgp1219 - May 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        I didn’t say he does it on a regular basis, but he has been spared discipline by the league for at least one intentional elbow to the head in the past. I can’t recall who he hit, but it was well behind the play.

        And what does it matter if the offending player has a history of doing this or not? It’s either suspendable or it isn’t.

        Listen, Grabovski has had his share of less than clean moments against the B’s, so I didn’t feel sorry for him, since he was not seriously injured.

      • mgp1219 - May 2, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        I found it on youtube…

      • sunderlanding - May 2, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Doesn’t matter if he meant to do it or not. He hit his head, and only his head. This is a clear suspension, but probably only one game. It’s like high sticking. No one does it intentionally, but it’s a penalty all the same. This is a head shot, so it’s a suspension.

      • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        I don’t think simply making head contact means it’s a suspension. That’s been proven to not be the case. Intent does matter though. If a guy is intentionally trying to hurt someone, then that is completely different. If a guy doesn’t mean to hurt someone but does, then that’s a debate right there, like this one. Maybe he does get a game or two but there was no intent there so I think that makes a difference. Consider Torres last year hitting Hossa in the playoffs. That was dirty. Ference did make head contact but I wouldnt call it dirty.

      • sunderlanding - May 2, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        I didn’t mean it that way. Sure if you intended to hit someones head it would be a huge penalty. I’m just saying because you didn’t mean to hit them doesn’t mean you won’t get suspended. I think he will get one game, and I think he deserves one game. People need to be accountable accident or not.

      • theclaim - May 2, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        NUNAN! Had to say it, Caddyshack reference. Seriously, YEAH some people DO approach the game that way. Matt Cooke comes to mind. Charas hit on Pacioretti? Maybe not done with the intention of truly hurting the guy but if you watch the replay of the hit, he lined it up and waited until he could elbow him into the stansion. It WAS intentional as far as he AIMED for the pole. NOT saying Chara is a dirty player either merely saying that intent is a factor. Ference clearly INTENDED to lead with the elbow to the head. My opinion. I think a suspension IS in order. How many games is the REAL question. Don’t put yourself in position to MISS playoffs.

    • ignath - May 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      Agreed hockeywithdrawal…this hit is very similar to the Brown on Pommer hit. Both players (Brown and Ference) raise their shoulders and elbows into the head/face of their intended targets. SHOULD be a suspension, but my faith in Shannnaban is sorely lacking with the calls that have been made this year.

    • cowboys282 - May 2, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      What was worse. Ference’s elbow or this:

      Nash did not get suspended.

      • kitshky - May 2, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        Different hit … but Nash should have been suspended as well.

  2. freneticgarfieldfan - May 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I hope not, or one game at most. Grabovski had his head low, otherwise the elbow would have hit the chest.

    • ignath - May 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      and Ference raising his shoulder and elbow up to hit Grabovski in the face didn’t have anything to do with it?

      • freestyle1022 - May 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        If Grabovski plays the body, its an elbow to the shoulder hit. No way was this Ferences intention. Not saying it doesn’t seem like a bad hit, but no chance the intention was to hit his head vs. putting the arm up in defense when Ference himself was in a vulnerable position. If this was Orr it would have been Ference on the glass, and a good hockey play all around.

        With that said, wouldn’t be surprised by a no suspension or a 1-gamer.

  3. clawedjeroo28 - May 2, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    You can’t watch that video and honestly say that you think Ference shouldn’t be suspended. Simple as that.

    • nhloon - May 2, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      It’s hockey, grabovski should be ready for contact.

    • thesableo - May 2, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      Yup. I’m willing to assume it was just a reaction play by Ference because I love the little guy, but it was still an elbow to the head. He’s a repeat offender too so he’s definitely getting multiple games. A veteran alternate captain needs to be smarter than that.

  4. sjsharks86 - May 2, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    I’m obviously bias so take this comment with a grain of salt but I think Jannik Hansen’s hit on Galiardi last night deserves to be looked at by disciplinarian’s as well, despite there being no call on the play it seems to me that Hansen targeted the head. However NHL Player Safety is a joke so I don’t expect anything to come of it.

    • sjsharks86 - May 2, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      I wonder what would happen if he hit Hossa like that though… oh wait.

      • blackhawksdynasty - May 2, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        That’s just a stupid comment. What does Hossa have to do with anything? Is it Hossa’s fault he was targeted for multiple careless dirty hits in the past? No, that’s what morons do – target stars to take them out of the game. Just like Keith’s elbow on Sedin – dirty. Pointless comment. Get over it already.

      • elvispocomo - May 2, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        Nice of you to bring up Hossa – who else has made a dangerous hit on Hossa, in fact a much more dangerous one and now plays on your team?

    • elvispocomo - May 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      Way to reply to you own post, but back on topic:

      Hansen’s hit was primarily to the body and the head gets incidental contact because Galiardi drops his inside shoulder low playing the puck. Hansen doesn’t jump at him and is even bent over slightly himself. He keeps his arm tucked in to his side as well to avoid the elbow being an issue, unlike Ference.

      For us Canucks fans, we’re still wondering where the hooking call on Hamhuis occurred and why a minor incident like Kassian pushing Couture as he finishes a check (when Hannan’s allowed to take down a guy trying to go to the net) results in roughing penalty.

      We can agree on the suspensions and refereeing being not exactly top drawer this year though.

      • sjsharks86 - May 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        @BlackhawksDynasty, Actually I was referring to when Hansen got suspended for elbowing Hossa back in February. Although it was on a different type of play it shows that has a Hansen has hurt a player before and he has a disposition for putting elbows to heads.

        @elvispocomo, I refuse to cheer for Torres, even thought he’s played great for the Sharks and even won them a game on a shootout goal. Whether he’s reformed or not I hold his history against him, I can’t stand when players play to injure or are dirty in any way. The way I see it Hannan’s blatant interference equalized all the non-calls that were going the Canucks way last night (charging, boarding, elbows, holding, high-sticking). If the refs don’t want to call anything that’s fine, but Hansen’s hit was dangerous, and its on NHL Player Safety to step in and let them know its not ok, otherwise it’ll never stop. Honestly though, the Canucks style of play would serve them better on a soccer field than in the rink, there is no honor to their game.

      • sjsharks86 - May 2, 2013 at 12:55 PM


        ^And please don’t try to sell that as a body check, that was all head.

      • elvispocomo - May 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        Hansen’s hit was a hit to the body where the head was also contacted. That’s still legal in the NHL. We’ll see what happens with Gryba around his hit on Eller, but his hit was primarily on the body but the head was also contacted as well.

        The point is to not have it be a hit in the numbers or directly to the head without some part of the body as an initial point of contact, and I don’t think either was the case here.

        And ‘Admin’, you’ll have to grant me user access to see that file you’re posting. I’m sure it’s great and important we all see it.

    • nhloon - May 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Agreed, that hit was 50/50,

  5. pepper2011 - May 2, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Damnit Ference. Nesn broadcast didn’t show that.

    Hello Dougie

    • tfaltin - May 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      I’m surprised the Bruins playoff game wasn’t relegated to NESN + to show those lovable Red Sox win a spring time game…worst sports channel out there.

      • pastabelly - May 2, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        The way the Bruins have been playing since the second month of the season, they should be on NESN Minus. Seriously, playoffs is a different story. No games will be on the PLUS.

        Also, no suspension for Ferrence – maybe a fine. Dougie should sit and also he shouldn’t have won 7th player award, which was stolen from Paille.

      • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Pasta – you completely echo my own sentiments with every point you made. I enjoy pasta, too.

      • freestyle1022 - May 2, 2013 at 10:53 PM

        As much as you can get annoyed by Jack, he actually knows the game at least and he’s far from the issue at NESN. Are they not the worst at game production? Always late getting the camera to a scrum/fight. Never show replays of certain things.

        How did they not pick up on that puck that went over the glass in the second period? Was clearly batted out of the air over the glass, and nobody at NESN, yes you too Brick, picked up on it. Seems small now, but Toronto ended up with a breakaway less than a minute later and could have made it 2-2.

        With that said, the between period crews are pretty good.

  6. 19to77 - May 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Grabovski was watching the puck and not the player, so this IS partly on him, but Ference’s elbow rises substantially to make the connection, and that’s an illegal hit any day of the week. Hopefully at least two games to match precedent with the very recent Brown hit.

    • mazblast - May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Agreed. He saw the player coming in somewhat low and raised his elbow intentionally. He could have lowered his shoulder and gotten the same effect legally.

      And no, I have no horse in this race. I’m not a fan of either team, nor do I dislike either.

    • elvispocomo - May 2, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      I’d say Grabovski is about to go by Ference, and Ference extends his arm/elbow as he realizes he’s about to miss him entirely and be out of position. He makes a bad adjustment that results in contact to the head, but remember it’s the playoffs so 2 regular season games might only mean one playoff game by their ‘formula’ of equality.

    • nunan - May 2, 2013 at 11:40 AM

      I get that argument but my opinion is he get’s nothing. We’ll see. Also, I think comparing incidents, for the most part, is a bad way to look at these things. It’s easy to say “well, this happened in this game and the player was suspended so I expect a suspension here”. I think that’s where a lot of people get frustrated. It over-simplifies the hit in question and discounts other factors, like other incidents in the game that may have led to the hit in question, whether the player was hurt, etc. The league clearly takes those things into account. it effects their decision and I think people miss that part.

      • 19to77 - May 2, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        That’s a well-reasoned position to take. Fair enough. Comparisons do oversimplify things.

  7. shortsxit34 - May 2, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    They should be reviewing the spear from Phaneuf (I think?) that Seguin took to the stomach, too.

    • bruinssuck - May 2, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      U mean dive by Seguin ??

  8. mclovinhockey - May 2, 2013 at 11:41 AM


  9. micklethepickle - May 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    It wouldn’t be the Stanley Cup Playoffs without the Boston Bruins acting like a bunch of classless goons, so can’t say I’m surprised.

    • bingram20 - May 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Bruins acting like a bunch of classless goons please explain. That was what you call a hockey game hard hitting end to end. Ference will probably get suspended for a game that was a bad hit. I do not believe it was intentional but it is worthy of a game.

    • rdurk86 - May 2, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      Fairly sure that Toronto gooned it up at the end with Orr and company on the ice running around hitting people with 5 seconds left.

  10. barbarian9 - May 2, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    This cheap shot is very similar to the one he delivered on Jeff Halpern in the 2011 playoffs. The guy is dirty, plain and simple.

    • bingram20 - May 2, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Ference is dirty so me facts to back this ridiculous statement. You are obviously a Canadiens fan. The guy has never had more than 40 penalty minutes in a season. was last nights hit bad yes but not intentional. pull your head out of the CH on your shirt.

      • pastabelly - May 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        I was more concerned when Ferrence flipped the bird to Canadiens fans in 2011. I thought they’d give him a game for that. This one will get him a warning and a fine. For what it’s worth, the Leafs were full of cheap shots and dirty play last night and the penalty minutes explains that. They got bent out of shape on a great and clean hit by Boychuck. I think the Bruins need to play with this attitude to roll in the playoffs. They need to play their game and not worry about officials or whiners on Pro Hockey Talk.

  11. myspaceyourface - May 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I actually think it is the upper arm / side shoulder area. What do I know, I’m just a Penguins fan. I also thought the elbow that put Neal out was much more egregious.

  12. 2qswing - May 2, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Sorry B’s fans. This is a training film on a suspension-worthy, elbow targeting the head offense. They will be using this to train refs for years.

  13. eaglesbest - May 2, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    He shouldn’t based on the fact that Grabovski is a huge pansy and furthermore what about JVR spearing Marchand in the nuts. Let them all play Nd just beat the piss out of one another for three more games cause that’s all Toronto will last anyways

  14. sixshooter90 - May 2, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    u drop the shoulder not raise it for the hit then there is no way your elbow will come up. simple. remember the rome hit boston fans. horton admiring his hit.

    • freestyle1022 - May 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      his pass? And huh? That hit was blatantly late. Admiring a pass, or skating forward while looking at the puck carrier to stay onside, whatever you want to call it, that hit was late plain and simple. Horton had 0% of the blame there, and has paid the price of never being the same since.

  15. Anthony Maiorana - May 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    There’s no way a player can throw an elbow without expecting it to hit someone in the head. You can’t make an arguement that he “didn’t mean to” because by throwing the elbow up there’s already an intent to hit him, and it’s pretty clear Ference looks up, sees Grabovski coming and throws the elbow up.

  16. odj810 - May 2, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    I don’t think he’s supsended. I think we would know by now if he was.

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