- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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After the game and again Friday, he said he had no intention of giving the fans at Bell Centre the middle finger after he scored a goal at 9:59 of the second period. He had a call with NHL vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy on Friday.
"I talked to Mike Murphy this morning, and I explained the same thing I told you guys last night," Ference said Friday from the Bruins locker room at TD Garden. "He said the same thing, 'It looks awful.' And obviously with the series, and the whole year, you know how it is between the Habs and the Bruins. A fine is acceptable in their book. I had a good talk with him this morning.
"I was pumping my fist. I wasn't giving anybody the bird or anything like that. It's like I told [Murphy], it was an unintentional bird that I obviously apologize for. It wasn't meant to insult anybody, especially the whole row of cameras and fans in the Bell Centre sitting there. That's definitely not my intentions."
After the Bruins beat the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime to even the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal at two games apiece, Ference tried to explain how it happened.
"I think my glove got caught up. I can assure you that's not part of who I am or what I ever have been. It looks awful. I admit it and I completely apologize to how it looks. I was putting my fist in the air. I'm sorry. It does look awful. I don't know what else to say."
Bruins coach Claude Julien supported how Ference accepted responsibility.
"I think he's been pretty open with what he thinks of the situation," Julien said Friday. "His comments were pretty clear, and I'm going to support my player. That's what my job is, to support and believe your player, and that's what I'm going to do. I think he's a big boy, he's capable of handling himself, and he's giving money to charity."
Montreal goalie Carey Price was more skeptical about Ference's explanation.
"Come on, man," he said. "I'm sure he feels shame. ... It's over now. I'm over it."
And, Price said, "It's pretty funny. I have some stuff out there that I'm not very proud of either."
Ference admitted Thursday that "it looks really bad" after seeing a replay after the game.
"All I can do is tell you the truth, and that's the truth," he said Thursday. "I totally agree it looks bad. I can assure you that's not who I am or ever will be. I was pumping my fist in the air. I don't score too many goals and that's about all I have in my [celebration] repertoire."
Julien said after the game that an obscene gesture wouldn't suit Ference.
"I'm shocked," he said. "I don't know whether it happened, or what, but I would be very surprised. That's not his style."
Montreal coach Jacques Martin said he did not see the gesture, and with Game 5 coming up, Martin had more pressing concerns.
"I have enough to worry about," he said Friday. "I think that's the league's business. My time, my responsibility is to get our team ready for [Saturday] night."
Prior to Ference's goal -- which cut Boston's deficit to 3-2 -- Canadiens forward Brian Gionta drilled Ference hard into the boards in the Bruins' end. Ference got to his feet, got into the play in the offensive zone and knuckled a shot past Price.
"Honestly, it was rolling and I just whacked it, and 90 percent of the time it goes off the glass. I got lucky it went in," Ference said.
Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. ESPNBoston.com's Brendan Hall and The Associated Press contributed to this report.