As hard as everyone’s tried, it’s probably still impossible to overstate Andrew Ference‘s intangible impact on a hockey team. Few people know that more than one of his former bosses.
Ference continues to acclimate himself with the Edmonton Oilers after leaving Boston to sign with his boyhood team this offseason, and in a couple of weeks, he’ll go to camp with the Oilers.
It will be the first time since 2006 that Ference starts a season with anyone other than the Bruins. That means there was plenty of time for Ference to leave his mark on the organization.
That mark was a lasting one, as evidenced by the glowing praise he received upon his exit, and B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli added to that ever-growing mound of compliments recently.
“Andy’s a competitive little S.O.B.,” Chiarelli told the Edmonton Journal. “He plays harder than his size.”
Ference has made a living out of getting more out of his 5-foot-11, 185-pound than most. The 34-year-old is a health-and-fitness fiend who is much stronger than that frame might suggest.
“He’s aggressive, he’s efficient, he closes on guys really well, defends well and for his size, he’s very strong,” Chiarelli said.
It also doesn’t hurt that Ference brings a winning attitude to Edmonton, a team full of young players with a ton of talent. However, all the Oilers have know in recent years is losing, and they’ll likely lean hard on Ference — who has been to three Stanley Cup Finals, winning in 2011 with the Bruins.
“I think [he can help the younger players],” Chiarelli said. “But I think he’s also cognizant of the fact that you just can’t take it from here and put it there. It’s case by case. The Oilers are a lot younger and you can’t force-feed some of that stuff on younger players.”
Ference and the Oilers host the Bruins on Dec. 12, and the veteran blueliner will return to TD Garden on Feb. 1.