The playoffs bring a heightened level of intensity and a “win at all costs” mentality to hockey, which often result in tempers flaring and players using questionable tactics to gain an advantage. We saw a couple instances of that going down in Wednesday’s Game 1 of the Bruins-Maple Leafs opening round series.
The first game when Andrew Ference delivered an elbow to the head of Leafs’ forward Mikhail Grabovski, sending him crumbling to the ice. Ference appeared to intentionally extend his elbow to take out Grabovski along the boards, drawing a penalty on the play. Ference very well may wind up with a suspension from the league as well, as they have been actively cracking down on blows to the head in the past few years.
Check out video of the incident below:
UPDATE (5/2, 7:57 PM) : Ference has been suspended for one game by the NHL.
The second incident didn’t receive much attention until after the game, when Brad Marchand complained that James Van Riemsdyk speared him in the groin area with his stick towards the end of the game. Marchand, obviously not happy with JVR’s tactics, angrily swung his stick at the Leafs forward and just narrowly missed connecting.
GIF of the incident below:
It was obviously a pretty dirty move by Van Riemsdyk but, as a Bruins fan, you hate to see that kind of response from Marchand. It’s equally just as low and if he had connected he very likely would have faced a suspension from the league. This isn’t exactly the time one of your team’s best scorers needs to be taking a ban from the league. Cooler heads need to prevail.
It’ll be interesting to see how the league reviews and polices these two incidents in the coming days.