Andrew Ference frustrates Boston Bruins fans

andrew ference.jpgEvery now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I also will provide my guess.


First, here is my guess for Boston.

Dennis Wideman – Wideman is the poster child for a contract year deception.

For the Beantown lowdown, I tabbed Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder. Make sure to follow his great Bruins blog on Sports Blog Nation.

Most Bruins fans would probably say that Dennis Wideman or Michael Ryder are their biggest sources of frustration for their inconsistent play, but for me no player is more frustrating than Andrew Ference.

Ference is the classic “tweener”. He isn’t big enough to be a physical defenseman and he isn’t skilled enough to be a puck-mover or an offensive defenseman. Of course, that’s on the rare occasion that Ference is actually healthy and in the lineup. This past week pretty much summed up the essence of Andrew Ference. On Wednesday, Ference signed a 3-year extension with the Bruins worth $2.25 million a year. On Thursday, he was watching the game from the 9th floor at the TD Garden with a groin injury. Fragile Ference has missed at least 30 games a year over the course of his time with Boston. It’s as if they replaced his bones and cartilage with glass and Elmer’s Glue.

If collecting a decent-sized pay check for showing up to work 60% of the time isn’t enough reason to loathe Andrew Ference, he is one of these obnoxious do-gooders, who makes you feel bad about yourself for not traveling to third world countries in Africa to play soccer with underprivileged kids. Anybody who had to wait for the T a few years ago had to listen to a PSA from Ference that played every 5 minutes telling you to use public transportation to help save the planet. Hey buddy, I’m waiting for the train. I think I am aware of public transportation.

Then there was the way that he handled the Paul Kelly firing as the team’s NHLPA player’s representative. The key role of a player rep is represent your team. Ference reportedly never discussed the situation with his teammates and decided to step down as player rep shortly after. His handling (or more accurately, mishandling) of the Paul Kelly firing even drew some harsh criticism from Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park. I refuse to believe that this situation didn’t create some level of friction in the Bruins room at a time when they desperately needed leaders to step up and bring this team together in the wake of several veterans leaving town.

I can’t wait for the day when Andrew Ference loads up his collection of porkpie hats and skinny ties into his hybrid Prius and drives out of town … too bad that will be at least 3 years from now.

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    Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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    The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

    “Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

    “That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

    More on the statue from the Devils:

    The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

    Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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    The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

    Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

    The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

    Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

    “It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

    “You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

    “We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

    The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

    Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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    In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

    After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

    The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

    — He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

    — From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

    — Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

    He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

    Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

    The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

    The Islanders also have a game in hand.

    Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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    The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

    As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

    Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

    In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.