- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference said he accepts the NHL’s decision to suspend him for one game due to his illegal hit on the Maple Leafs’ Mikhail Grabovski during Game 1 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Wednesday at TD Garden.
“It’s a decision the league makes. As a player you deal with it, but as far as having a public opinion, I don’t think it benefits any player to express any opinion about it,” Ference said. “As a player, you accept it and move on to the next game.”
The play occurred in the first period of Boston’s 4-1 win, and Grabovski was not injured. The league reviewed the incident and held a conference call with Ference and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli on Thursday afternoon before the suspension was handed out.
Ference would not comment on what was discussed during the conference call.
“I think that’s reserved between Peter, myself and the league,” Ference said. “It does nobody any good to talk about those kinds of things in this kind of medium. That’s a process for the phone and it’s for yesterday and it happens.”
According to the league's ruling on Thursday, Ference "made a decision to check Grabovski after playing the puck. However, in doing so he lunges toward Grabovski, extending his left arm and shoulder, picking Grabovski's head and making it the principal point of contact."
Bruins coach Claude Julien would not comment on the suspension after the team’s practice Friday, and said Ference's replacement for Game 2 on Saturday would be a game-time decision.
“Guys will step right in and there will be no problem,” Ference said. “It’s hockey. Whether it’s an injury or something like this, guys step up and do the job.”
On Thursday, during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between Montreal and Ottawa, the Canadiens’ Lars Eller was on the receiving end of a hit by the Senators’ Eric Gryba. Eller was taken off the ice on a stretcher and suffered a concussion and facial fractures.
After the Bruins’ practice Friday morning, Ference was asked his thoughts on the hit.
“If I’m not going to comment on my hit, I’m not going to comment on someone else’s,” Ference said. “Honestly, I don’t think it’s healthy for any players to talk about that kind of stuff, or have a real public voice about other players. Those are our union members and guys you could be teammates with in the future.
“It’s almost easier to talk about your own teammates and yourself than it is about guys on other teams because there’s a line there that I don’t think is healthy to cross.”
For now, Ference will stand by the league’s decision.
“The decision is made, so it really doesn’t matter what I think,” he said. “The decision is done.”