October 6, 2011

Ference: B's can balance enjoying banner night, focusing on Flyers

by Jesse Connolly

Andrew Ference had 10 points in 25 playoff games for the Bruins. (Getty)

BOSTON – The 2010-11 season will go down as one of the most memorable chapters in the history of Boston sports, but it’s now time to turn the page and begin a new one for the Bruins.

The Black and Gold will kick off their season against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at TD Garden, where championship banner No. 6 will be raised to the rafters precisely 113 days after the Bruins defeated the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Arena.

After a summer filled with a variety of celebratory events, the B’s are certainly ready to get back to work.

“Oh for sure,” defenseman Andrew Ference said. “This is just icing on the cake now. We’ve patted each on the back enough, and had enough dinners and celebrations to last for a while. This is good. It’s a final little stamp on it. Everyone gets to enjoy it, have a good time and get on with it.”

Ference, who was named as one of Boston’s rotating alternate captains on Thursday, doesn’t believe that he and his teammates have to completely erase all of the joyous moments from last year’s playoff run from their minds in order for them to be successful again this season.

“No, I’ll think about it a lot,” Ference said when asked about the Bruins memorable Cup run. “They play that damn commercial on NHL Network all the time to buy our DVD. It’s not wrong to think about it. It’s not a bad thing to have memories and pull good lessons from what we did. It’s dwelling on it that gets you.”

As a veteran presence and a newly-appointed leader, the 32-year-old defenseman plans on ensuring that there’s no sense of entitlement among the Black and Gold as they begin their quest to repeat.

“We don’t get the rights on it this year,” said Ference. “Everybody has to earn it the same way. There’s not going to be any bonus calls or lucky bounces because of what you did last year. It’s a fresh slate. Nobody ever gets lucky or gets a free pass in the playoffs or anything like that. It’s a grind.”

Since the moment Bruins captain Zdeno Chara accepted the Stanley Cup from commissioner Gary Bettman and lifted high above his 6-foot-9 frame, the Hub of Hockey has anxiously awaited tonight’s tilt and the accompanying festivities.

The same can certainly be said for the players themselves, as Oct. 6 has been circled on all of their calendars throughout the entirety of the offseason. It’d be easy to get caught up in what promises to be an emotional pregame ceremony but, as Ference had alluded to, the B’s simply have to draw from their experiences this past spring and quickly turn their focus to the Flyers once all of the hoopla is said and done.

“There’s distractions tonight and there’s a lot going on, but if you consider the last big game we played, to get prepared for a Game 7 on the road took a lot of concentration and controlling of emotions,” said Ference. “If we can do it then, we should be able to enjoy this and still play good hockey.”