As expected, the NHL decided to fine Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference $2,500 for giving the Bell Centre crowd the finger after he scored a second period goal last night. This ruling falls under Rule 75.5 (ii), which calls for a maximum fine of $2,500 for an obscene on-ice gesture.
Ference won’t face a suspension, however, making his obscene gesture far less damaging than James Wisniewsk’s two-game suspension for a lewd gesture toward Sean Avery.
Believe it or not, Ference claims that he did it on accident, according to Joe Haggerty. Using the kind of excuse you would expect to hear from a grade school student who got caught flipping the bird, Ference said his finger got stuck in his hockey glove.
Seriously, he really committed to that story.
“It looks awful; I just saw it,” said Ference follwing the game. “I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I think my glove got caught up. I can assure you that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been. It looks awful. I admit it and I completely apologize to how it looks. I was putting my fist in the air. I’m sorry. It does look awful. I don’t know what else to say.”
Ference was pressed several times about the middle-finger gesture, but never wavered from the main story he’s telling the commissioner’s office.
“Honestly, I have no idea [how it happened],” he said. “It looks really bad. All I can do is tell you the truth, and [my finger getting stuck in my glove is] the truth.
Well, OK then. Somehow the league didn’t buy his story, but there really isn’t much harm done being that he won’t miss a game. Ference made $2,250,000 this season (players aren’t paid during the playoffs), so he should be able to recover at the bank unless his financial planning is as haphazard as his excuses.
If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.
The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.
After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.
If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.
Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.
If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:
“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”
The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.
Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:
With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.
Measuring stick stretch begins
Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.
This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.
It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.
In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.
Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.
It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.
His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:
These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”
Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.
Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.
Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.
It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.
Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.