How Andrew Ference Of The Bruins Made Me Eat Crow & I’m Happy He Did
My perception (and of many fans) of the Bruins Andrew Ference prior to the Stanley Cup Championship was of a nice player that was injury prone. He reminded me of Mr. Glass in the Bruce Willis movie “Unbreakable”, Ference just could not stay on the ice.
From 2007-2010, he missed 79 games almost an entire season. Most players may have been let go for a healthier option, but the Bruins brass saw something in Andrew Ference that most may have missed.
“His character”….so much so that GM peter Chiarelli gave the blue liner a 3 year deal worth $6.75 million during March of 2010.
My first reaction was, “Are you kidding me? The man with the GLASS GROIN?!?!”
The Bruins were yet again making another bad signing, the Stanley Cup drought was sure to continue and I questioned if I would ever witness a championship for my BELOVED Black & Gold.
Ference had a bounce back year in 2010-2011 by playing in 70 games, his most since 2006-2007 when he was traded to Boston from Calgary. He posted 15 points and +22 plus/minus which was a career best. Bruins fans began to perk their ears about #21…..
Then it happened in the first round series vs. the hated Canadiens….“The Unintentional Bird”.
With this awesomely obscene gesture, Andrew Ference instantly achieved BAD ASS status in my book.
His MAGNIFICENT middle finger was a galvanizing symbol of the Bruins during that magical post season. He was no longer going to accept defeat and neither were his teammates.
It was Big Bad F U to the NHL that the Bruins have finally arrived.
Boston won that series, then exacted revenge on the Flyers before engaging in an epic battle versus Tampa in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And guess who helped set up the series clinching goal…..yep #21 Andy (can I call you Andy sir?) Ference.
Ference was the quarterback reading the defense by feeding Krejci who later found Nathan Horton for the historic clincher.
But Ference’s true impact on and off the ice was yet to be felt in the playoffs as the Bruins squared off versus the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
After a thunderous and inexcusable hit during Game Three by the Canucks’ Aaron Rome that knocked Nathan Horton out of the post-season, Ference scored the first goal of the game.
And the Bruins never looked back….his goal righted the ship after his teammates were visibly shaken by the injury to Horton.
The vintage Bruins Starter jacket hung in his injured teammate’s locker.….the same jacket that made it’s debut back in March awarded to the player that was crucial to the team’s success.
The jacket was a symbol to rally not only for Horton but for themselves.
And rally they did from down 0-2 and 3-2 to win their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Ference was seen around Boston with Lord Stanley in a baby carriage and getting his flash mob on.
He became a man of the people in real life and on the internet as he joined Twitter during the spring of 2012.
Ference has embraced social media while breaking down the walls between celebrity athletes and the fans. He actually takes out time to interact with as many of his 36k followers, myself included. He joked about the “Thomas Facebook Gate” incident and even regretfully declined my invite to this year’s Hockey Resurrection party. He had a movie and pizza date with his daughters.
He also helped to save the NHL season.
In just a few short years, Andrew Ference made me eat crow and I am happy he did. He made me realize what Peter Chiarelli knew right along:
“He competes night in and night out, and we really felt it was important to get him in the mix for the next three years,” said Chiarelli.“He’s a real cog in our defensive unit and he complements everyone well. We’re happy to have him signed for the next three years.”
True Bad Ass.
And Mr. Ference I am so SORRY it took me so long to understand your TRUE VALUE….