In the image of his classy team, the classy defenseman Andrew Ference, who was called out by all the analysts everywhere for criticizing his teammate Dan Paille for a headshot in early February, flipped the bird to the Habs fans at the Bell Center after scoring a goal last night during game four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011, first round. It was something to cherish for Ference, who hadn't scored a playoffs goal since May 10th 2001, that is scoreless in 66 games, and he celebrated it with nothing less then class.
Meanwhile, the NHL, in keeping with its traditions of "no-suspensions, do what you want on the ice guys" sent Ference a small message by fining him a mere $2500.00 (of course The collective bargaining agreement puts a cap of $2,500 on a fine for an offensive gesture). It should be noted that the 31 year old veteran defenseman, who saw ice with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Calgary Flames before joining the Bruins in 2006-2007, was placed under a three year contract by the Bruins in March 2010, a deal that sees him earning $6.75 Million for three years. Yes, a $2500.00 fine will make him think twice before doing something that offends the sportsmanship of the game, after all, it is a big chunk of his annual salary.
Another noteworthy element is the fact that Habs defenseman James Wisniewski, who was with the New York Islanders early in the 2010-2011 season, was suspended for two games for an obscene gesture towards New York Ranger's Sean Avery on October 11, 2010. Perhaps the NHL does not think that the unprofessional attitude shown by Ference after he showed his middle finger to a fan is as obscene as the one made by Wisniewski. Or perhaps, had Ference made the gesture to Sean Avery.... wait, maybe if Ference wasn't a Bruin?
While it is entirely possible that Ference was simply angry at the fact that the Habs fans cheered a hit that their captain Brian Gionta landed on him shortly before he scored, it was an idiotic, unwarranted and unnecessary act. The Boston newspaper are calling this gesture simply a "naughty gesture" and the fact that Ference has given Bruins fans "a poster to hang on their walls". Ference was apologetic though in his comments: “Coach just showed me it, and it looks awful,” said Ference in the Bruins’ Bell Centre dressing room. “I just saw it and I can assure you that’s not part of my repertoire. I don’t know if my glove got caught up. I can assure you, that’s not part of who I am or what I ever have been."
Indeed, in keeping with the trend of Bruins players making ridiculous excuses about their actions on the ice (remember Chara and the fact that he didn't know where he was on the ice and whether Pacioretty was on the ice?), Ference claims that "his glove got caught up". He wasn't even apologetic to the fans he showed the finger to, he was just apologetic because he looked bad! “So it looks awful, I admit it, I completely apologize to how it looks.” Perhaps if the gesture had looked good, he wouldn't have been so apologetic?