The New York Rangers won their Eastern Conference showdown Saturday with the Boston Bruins on a Marian Gaborik power-play goal with 3.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
Why did they have a power play? Because Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference put a forearm into the numbers of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh's sweater, sending him face-first into the end boards and sending Ference to the dressing room on a 5-minute major/game misconduct for charging.
Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley provided every counterargument to the obvious, which is that Ference recklessly shoved McDonagh from behind in a high-velocity chase for the puck.
The speed of the play, the absence of malice, the "angling for a hit" rather than hitting from behind, the notion that McDonagh held up before Ference anticipated he would have … hell, add whatever you want to the pile of excuses NESN already provided. It's a hit that shouldn't happen.
And it's a hit the NHL doesn't want to happen any longer, and one expects Brendan Shanahan's going to swing the Shanahammer for this one. Ference isn't a dirty player — this wasn't necessarily a malicious hit — but a guy who plays on the edge. Unless you're a Bruins announcer, you probably feel like he went over the edge here.
Andrew Ference admitted after game he was coming in too fast and that led to "a bad result" w/McDonagh injury. Said its league's call now.
As for McDonagh … well, he's survived more despicable hits than this.