April 4, 2012

Fischler Report: Bruins' Ference a family man

By Stan Fischler

After playing a decisive role in the Bruins Cup run last season, defenseman Andrew Ference knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. 

The Edmonton native has set a career-high in goals this season with six and is one of the main reasons why Boston has given up the second fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.

TFR’s Nick Slade interviewed Ference on the following topics:

* FAVORITE OFF-ICE ACTIVITIES:

What I like to do the most when I’m away from hockey is spending time with my children. I love being with my family and we always take trips back to Alberta to visit my family.

I don’t get to see my family too often during the season so when I do I cherish every moment I get with them.

* PASSION AWAY FROM HOCKEY:

Surfing whenever I get a chance during the off-season. I’ve surfed in Hawaii and Brazil and it’s something that I find relaxes me but is different at the same time.

This summer I plan on surfing in different parts of California and Brazil.

* THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON:

We’ve played well at times but the start of the season wasn’t what we expected. Our club was experiencing the Cup hangover from last Summer and we weren’t prepared.

However, we got through the struggles and played like we’re capable of for most of the season. We can improve on every aspect and we know we have to continue working before the playoffs.

* PLAYING IN PORTLAND:

It was a fantastic experience to be able to play in the Western Hockey League and with the Winterhawks.

It taught me how to be a professional both on and off the ice as well as the importance of coming to the rink prepared. It’s something that I’m grateful to have experienced.

If my children have the opportunity to be able to play in juniors, I would recommend it because it prepares a young hockey player the best for the NHL.

* CHANCES THE BRUINS HAVE AT WINNING THE CUP AGAIN:

Our club has the understanding of what it takes to win in the playoffs and we believe we can do it again this year.

We have the majority of the same players from last season’s roster but what’s different this season is that we know what to expect. Claude Julien will have us ready physically and mentally for the postseason.

CAN THE BRUINS REPEAT AS CUP CHAMPS?

When the Bruins defeated the Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, Claude Julien’s team served notice that, yes, it can beat the best.

The question is: Will Boston be capable of winning a second straight Cup?

Our man in Beantown, Jared Lane, offers this view:

Defensive responsibility has been the foundation of the Bruins since the hiring of Julien in 2007.

Tuesday night’s match-up with the Penguins serves as the perfect test for Boston to prove it once again is a serious contender to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals.

Completing the daunting task of shutting down Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will send a message to any potential playoff foe that the Bruins are ready to defend their championship.

Captain Zdeno Chara stated the importance of a potential victory and the teams psyche into the playoffs.

“We’re on the right track, says Chara. “But there’s always room to improve and get better.”

Boston has the confidence to be victorious in a tight, defensive game, which has become the staple of post-lockout playoff hockey.

This entails limiting shots to the outside, clogging shooting lanes and clearing all rebounds. From there on, Tim Thomas will be able to handle the rest.

“That’s our plan, to play defense,” says David Krejci.  “It’s the kind of game we want to play and the kind of game we should play.”

The Rangers learned that on Sunday night. We’ll see what happens next to Pittsburgh.

GOSSIP

 In the intensely competitive race for the Adams Award for NHL’s best coach – John Tortorella (Melrose, Mass.) vs. Ken Hitchcock vs. Paul MacLean vs. Dan Bylsma – the most overlooked of the pack is Kevin Dineen but his Panthers must make the playoffs for him to get serious consideration. ...

No NHL team will be following the Frozen Four – starting Thursday – more avidly than the Rangers and GM Glen SatherBoston College’s Chris Kreider looms large in the Rangers' blueprints and conceivably could make the big club for the playoff crunch.

 This article originally included a quote from Bruins defensemen Andrew Ference regarding an estimated time that Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions could be settled. It gave an incorrect statement about when Ference believed the talks might be completed. Ference did not say that the CBA talks would be completed around the time the Free Agency would begin this Summer. We apologize for the error.