The (illegal) hits just keep on coming… and so do the suspensions. Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference is the next with his head on the block. He’s facing a possible suspension for a high hit on Vancouver’s Zack Kassian.
Ference was given a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head by referee Dennis LaRue, who had a perfect angle on the hit from just outside the blueline. The play took place at 14:03 of the second period. Kassian was not injured on the play.
The league has scheduled a phone hearing for Monday, which means Ference can expect no more than five games. The Department of Player Safety is ruling on an illegal check to the head and charging on the play.
Ference is a repeat offender under the terms of the CBA; his last suspension was less than 18 months ago. Ference was suspended one game for an elbow to the head of Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He also sat for three games for boarding New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in 2012.
He should expect to miss a few more after this one.
UPDATE: Ference has been suspended for three games. Here’s the official ruling from the NHL Department of Player Safety: