The 1998-99 hockey season was filled with ups and downs for Peter Ferraro. From being signed as a free agent by the Boston Bruins during the offseason, to making the starting line-up with the Bruins, to fighting through a string of injuries over a four month period, to being reassigned to Providence in the American Hockey League in early March, to leading Providence to the Calder Cup Championship and winning the Jack Butterfield Trophy as Playoff Most Valuable Player. Peter showed drive and determination to overcome the hard times and he ended the season on a very positive note.
Ferraro signed on with the Boston Bruins as a free agent on July 21, 1998. After spending the better part of three seasons (1995-96 through 1997-98) shuffling between the NHL and AHL, that road taking him from the New York Rangers to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and back to the Rangers organization, the stage was set for Peter to prove that he belonged in the ‘big show’.
He came to Boston knowing that the team was young and mostly inexperienced, and with coach Pat Burns at the helm, if you work hard, you get rewarded. That style of coaching suited Peter’s work ethic to a T, and his versatility at being able to play any of the three forward positions gave coach Burns several options on where to use him. When he reported to training camp, most everyone believed that Ferraro would start the season in Providence, the Bruins AHL affiliate. However, Peter proved his detractors wrong, putting in an excellent training camp and pre-season that earned him a place on Boston’s opening night roster, staying with the team for 80 percent of the NHL regular season.
Peter played whenever the coach wanted him on any given night, sometimes on the fourth line, sometimes on the second line, as well as being used on the power play and penalty kill. He impressed the coaching staff as well as fans with his speed, hustle and determination to make a significant impact on the Boston line-up. The first month of the season was very productive for Peter as he surpassed his previous NHL career-high in goals in less than half as many games. His defining moment on the year came against the Montreal Canadiens at the Molson Centre on October 28, as he scored two goals and added an assist in the Bruins’ 9-2 rout of their arch-rivals.
Ferraro had injury problems for much of the season, missing nine game with a chest injury and several others with the lingering effects of a concussion and foot injury compliments of a slapshot. A month after returning from his injuries and seeing his ice time drastically reduced, Boston placed Peter on waivers. B’s coaching and management felt using him in special situations was a luxury he would be best served by being reassigned to Providence, to get him some solid playing time that would help him regain the confidence lost to injuries and the reduction in his role in Boston.
The reassignment hit Peter hard. He didn’t understand why it happened. Neither did his fans. Luckily for Peter, his strong family ties and good friendships with players on the Bruins such as Ray Bourque and others provided him the encouragement he needed to get his head back into the game he loves. Once Ferraro’s mental focus was restored, his on-ice confidence returned in short order. He potted 15 goals in 16 regular season games to finish the Providence season, adding 10 assists for a total of 25 points.
He was a key player in the Providence Bruins’ impressive Calder Cup run and eventual victory, contributing 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games, which tied him for the playoff scoring lead. Due to his tenacious efforts, scoring ability and all-around excellent play, he was voted the AHL Playoff Most Valuable Player. He accepted the Jack Butterfield Trophy on home ice in front of an emotionally-charged crowd. Peter Ferraro’s up-and-down season finished as a smashing success. It was a story that everybody could enjoy as Providence celebrated its first professional hockey championship since 1956.
Peter Ferraro is an outstanding hockey player who is poised to make a big impact on the fortunes of the Boston Bruins in 1999-2000. The departure of center Tim Taylor to the New York Rangers opens the door for Ferraro to use his speed, grit and versatility to center the checking line of Rob DiMaio and P.J. Axelsson. One thing is for certain: Ferraro will do his utmost to secure a spot on Boston’s roster for the entire year and the multitudes of Bruins fans will no doubt be pulling for him to be successful. Peter hopes that he can play an important role in bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston just as he was a major factor in providing the city of Providence’s championship euphoria.