No 'What ifs' for Ference

BOSTON -- Bruins forward Andrew Ference knows what it's like to be on the wrong side in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, his Calgary Flames falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the deciding game of the 2004 title round. As he prepared to hop on a Duck Boat for Saturday's rolling rally, he took a moment to savor the fact that his legacy has been secured with this championship.

"Especially after losing -- and beyond the injuries and stuff -- go back to losing the Cup and even not just in the finals, even in early rounds," said Ference. "Like I was telling my wife, it’s so nice knowing I don’t ever have to worry about having to retire and worry about the 'What if’s.' It’s a really, really great feeling. That’s a fear as the years started going on, I didn’t want to have resentment my whole life."

Ference, limited by injuries over the past two seasons, said it was particularly gratifying to win the Cup as a steady contributor, particularly in the postseason, where he chipped in 4 goals and 6 assists over 25 games.

"I mean it was a dream, it really was," said Ference. "Just to stay healthy and a lot of that is just luck. Luck of the draw, getting hit the wrong way or something getting tweaked. That’s the way it goes, you do all you can to be healthy and be strong but sometimes you just leave it up to luck of the draw. It’s just nice to contribute and earn my keep."

When did it sink in that he had won the Stanley Cup?

"Probably the plane trip, it started to settle in," said Ference. "Cam [Neely] running up and down the plane with the Cup. Then landing in Boston was pretty special, the water cannons going off from the Coast Guard."

Now it's Ference soaking in the experience and, with one of his daughters in his arms, laughed about how he put an old stroller to good use by pushing the Cup around the North End on Friday. He joked about how it gets heavy and how sore others felt from lugging it around. But he wants to celebrate the win with the Boston fans.

"People would tell you, this is a hockey town -- you’ve got to [win a title]," said Ference. "We felt like we had to pull our weight and to finally do it, and do it with expectations as well. We kind of played the underdog bit at the end but throughout the whole year and especially with the last couple of seasons the way they went, there were expectations for us to actually perform and to get the job done. So it’s really satisfying to be able to do that, to live up to our expectations but also the expectations of the fans and people in the city."