Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference was suspended one game by the National Hockey League for elbowing Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski Wednesday night.
The incident occurred midway through the first period of the Bruins’ 4-1 win over the Leafs in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup Wednesday.
Grabovski skated for a loose puck in the Bruins’ end, but Ference hit him in the head before Grabovski could play the puck. The 34-year-old was not assessed a penalty on the play.
The centre had a cut on his nose and went to the Leafs dressing room briefly following the hit but later returned to the game.
Ference, has been suspended once before during his NHL career. In January 2012 the 34-year-old received a three-game ban after hitting New York Rangers defenceman Ryan McDonagh from behind.
After Wednesday’s game, Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said it was part of the “physicality” of the playoffs.
“It’s a game that’s made to be physical,” Carlyle said. “You’re allowed to hit people. … To judge if it was offside, a bad hit, or a belligerent hit, that’s not for me to judge. That’s for people in the league to make those determinations.”
Grabovski is not expected to miss Game 2 because of the hit.
Bruins rookie blueliner Dougie Hamilton, who was a healthy scratch in Game 1, will likely draw into the lineup for the Bruins in Ference’s place.