Andrew Ference was suspended for one game by the NHL after his hit on Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Mikhail Grabovski on Wednesday night at TD Bank Garden.
The Boston Bruins‘ defenseman laid out Grabovski with a thunderous check to the head in the first period of the home team’s 4-1 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final.
No penalty was called on the play but NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan reviewed the hit and handed Ference a one-game ban.
“While we agree that Grabovski is eligible for some body contact during the puck chase and that Ference can and should reasonably protect himself against impending hits, the fact remains that Ference cannot initiate a check such as this that recklessly targets Grabovski’s head and makes it the principle point of contact,” he ruled.
This is not the first time that Ference has been suspended as the rugged defenseman was slapped with a three-game ban in January 2012 for an illegal hit on Ryan McDonagh.
The most recent incident took place just past the midway point of the first period when the two players were chasing the puck in the corner. Ference then turned and lunged towards Grabovski, hitting him in the head.
Grabovski was able to finish the game but admitted to reporters that he still felt a little woozy.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I can’t remember. You tell me. I remember it was a hard hit, maybe an elbow?
“I feel fine though. Besides playoffs hurt. That’s a given, especially in a physical series and this isn’t the only one that would qualify at the moment.”
Andrew Ference’s suspension will mean that the 34 year old will be unavailable for the Bruins in Game 2 at TD Bank Garden as it looks to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series on Saturday evening.