Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been suspended for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs for an illegal hit to the head of forward Mikhail Grabovski on Wednesday night.
According to the league's ruling, 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."
Early in the first period of the Bruins' 4-1 series-opening win over the Maple Leafs, Ference came up high with his elbow as he skated past Grabovski and connected with the opposing player's head.
There was no penalty called on the play, but the replay clearly showed Ference raising his elbow to make contact. Grabovski did not appear to be injured.
When talking to reporters prior to Ference receiving the suspension, Bruins coach Claude Julien wouldn't discuss who might replace Ference in the lineup except to say he is happy with his team's depth. But with Julien scratching 19-year-old rookie Dougie Hamilton for the past three games (including the regular season), it wouldn't be surprising if Julien went with seldom-used Aaron Johnson based on his veteran experience.
"You don't want to see a teammate possibly get suspended, but we're also a deep team with players ready to step up," winger Patrice Bergeron said before Ference's suspension was handed down. "It's about doing the job with the players that are on the ice."
ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy contributed to this report.