Andrew Ference, Andrew Peters

NHL fines Andrew Ference $2,500 for middle finger


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.

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
Leave a comment

Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.