01/22/2012 05:49 EST | Updated 03/23/2012 05:12 EDT

Bruins defenceman Ference suspended 3 games

Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference was suspended by the NHL for three games for his illegal hit on New York blue-liner Ryan McDonagh on Saturday.

Boston coach Claude Julien revealed before the team's game Sunday afternoon with Philadelphia that the league had informed the Bruins Ference would not be available, though he didn't know the length of the ban at that point.

"You never want to see a player suspended, but at the same time, there's rules in place," said Julien.

Ference had a telephone hearing with the NHL after he sent McDonagh crashing into the boards in overtime on an ill-advised rush.

Ference was given a five minute penalty for charging, and Marian Gaborik scored on the ensuing power play to give the Rangers a 3-2 victory.

Julien defended his player's intentions, and cited another borderline hit later Saturday involving the ejection of Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg

"It's a game on edge, it just goes to prove it doesn't always have to be a dirty play and meant intentionally [to lead to a suspension]," the Bruins coach said.

Ference will get an extended break in terms of days, if not games, due to the NHL All-Star break.

The 32-year-old will be eligible to return for a home game Feb. 2 against Carolina.

In addition to the suspension, Ference also forfeits just under $36,500 US in salary.