September 19, 2012

Bruins d-man Ference signs with Czech team

By Jesse Connolly

HC Ceske Budejovice announced the signings of two NHL players on Wednesday. One of them is Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference.

This won't be the the B's alternate captain's first go-round with Budejovice. He played for the Czech Republic-based squad during the last lockout in 2004-05. In 19 games that year, he had five goals and six assists. 

Ference scored a career-high six goals for the Bruins in 2011-12, notching 24 points in 72 contests. As he did during the Cup run in 2011, No. 21 was a big contributor this past postseason with four points in seven games.

Ference spoke with the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa recently and intimated that he wouldn't rush to find work elsewhere. 

“We’ll see how the next week or two shakes out with meetings and negotiations,” Ference said. “I think everybody will have a better sense of exactly what some long-term plans are. There’s always the immediate lockout period. Then it takes a few days for things to sort themselves out and get talking again. We’ll see where it goes from there.”

According to the announcement on the team's website, it sounds like Ference will be joining the team at the beginning of October.

Thinking out loud here: Perhaps Ference's quick departure indicates negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA are looking even bleaker?

Budejovice also inked veteran forward Radek Martinek. An Islander for nine seasons, the Czech blueliner spent 2011-12 in Columbus, where he was limited to just seven games. In 460 career NHL games, he has 104 points.  

Martinek spent five seasons with Budejovice before joining the National Hockey League. He and Ference were teammates with the club during the 2004-05 campaign.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.