Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, sidelined 6-8 weeks with a fractured right tibia, said Tuesday he's aiming for a January return to the ice.
Andrew Ference (Barry Chin / Globe Staff)
Speaking during his weekly appearance on The Sandbox (WFNX, 101.7), Ference, who had surgery with Dr. George Theodore on Monday, didn't talk about the procedure that inserted a pin to help stabilize the fracture and speed the healing process, but admitted it is tough to be sidelined when his team is playing so well.
"It sucks. I've had a really good season so far, felt it's probably been the best of my career," said Ference. "Just the fact that the team is doing so well, you want to be a part of it, be involved. It stinks... watching on TV, it's no fun."
Ference maintained his sense of humor when asked about the one-timer Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov rocketed off his leg late in the second period of Thursday's 6-1 triumph over the Canadiens.
"If the guy had any aim -- I was actually standing beside the net -- if he hit the net, I would be just fine," joked Ference.
Ference had been one of the team's most consistent defenseman through 16 games this season (0-7 -7, plus-9, 22:25 of ice time per game). He again kept it light when it was noted that one web site had him ranked as the ninth most-defensive defenseman in the early part of the season.
"I don't know if I belong on a top 10 now, unless it's the channel surfing top 10," said Ference.
The Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont noted in Sunday's Globe that, if Ference returns on Jan. 15, he will have missed 27 games, roughly one-third of the 82-game season.
"You go through these things in the course of a season, and you deal with it," coach Claude Julien said Saturday. "It's a big loss for us. But someone has to step up and this is an opportunity for [Matt] Hunwick to get in there."
Hunwick scored a first-period goal to help the Bruins top the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, Monday night.
P.J. Axelsson took over Ference's role as point man on the Bruins' second power-play unit.
To listen to the full Ference interview, check out the Sandbox's daily podcast.