The NHL has suspended Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference for one game. The Department of Player Safety ruled that Ference threw an illegal check to the head of Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski in the first period of Wednesday night’s 4-1 Bruins win.
NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan noted that the hit was not defensive in nature. Ference was in control of the play when he lunged toward Grabovski with his left arm and shoulder. Ference made Grabovski’s head the principal point of contact, Shanahan said.
Grabovski did not change the position of his head prior to the collision. Grabovski was not injured on Wednesday night’s play.
Ference was considered a repeat offender. He was suspended three games last year for boarding Ryan McDonagh.
Without Ference for Game 2 Saturday, the Bruins will consider multiple options.
Ference was paired with Johnny Boychuk in Game 1.
The Bruins have four left-shot defensemen (Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson) and four right-shot defensemen (Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton).
They could recall Matt Bartkowski from Providence and pair him with either Boychuk or McQuaid. That would allow Chara and Seidenberg to stay together against Phil Kessel. If Johnson plays, the ex-Blue Jacket could be paired with Boychuk, allowing the Chara-Seidenberg and Redden-McQuaid pairs to remain intact.
If they opt for Hamilton, Chara and Seidenberg would not skate together. Chara and Boychuk would be the likely top duo. Seidenberg would shift back to the left side and play with Hamilton. Redden and McQuaid would be the No. 3 pairing.