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Ferraro twins working hard to be reunited

In the NHL, there are hits, and then there are HITS.

Peter Ferraro can now clearly distinguish between the two.

Ferraro, who signed as a free agent with the Boston Bruins over the summer, took a crushing hit last Friday from Montreal's Vladimir Malakhov that has left him sidelined indefinitely. Ferraro saw Malakhov coming for him, knew he would be hit hard, but had to make a play on the puck.

The check left him dazed and wobbly at center ice, with sprained chest muscles that have kept him out of the Bruins' last two games.

It isn't easy for him to sit out. He has played well for Boston, with four goals and two assists in 20 games. But being a fourth-line player, he knows his roster spot is not guaranteed.

"Any time you get injured, you start to feel like an outcast," said Ferraro after Boston's 1-1 tie with Vancouver at the FleetCenter Tuesday. "It's an uncomfortable feeling. So I'm taking all the necessary steps to get back as quickly as possible."

Ferraro, one of the pivotal players on the University of Maine's 1993 NCAA championship team, is very happy with Boston. More than anything, he's happy he's finally getting a chance to play in the NHL on a daily basis - an opportunity he hopes his twin brother Chris will get soon.

The two had been inseparable since they first started skating, playing on the same midget, junior and college teams and even drafted by the same NHL club.

In the 1992 draft, the New York Rangers took Peter Ferraro with their first pick, Chris Ferraro with their fourth. It was a dream come true for the native New Yorkers.

But even though they put up tremendous numbers in the minor leagues, they seldom got a chance to play in the NHL because of their size.

Both are listed at 5-foot-10. At 185 pounds, Chris is five pounds heavier than Peter.

They played a combined 21 games for the Rangers, who lost both to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the waiver draft at the start of the 1997- 98 season.  Chris stuck with Pittsburgh the whole season, Peter was eventually reclaimed by the Rangers and assigned to the AHL.

"When I was sent down, he kept me positive," said Peter Ferraro. "He told me the only way I was going to earn a contract was if I went there and played hard every night. That if I went there and moped, I would do myself more harm than good."

It's a message Peter gives to Chris daily this year.

Chris Ferraro, who had three goals and four assists in 46 games for the Penguins, signed with Edmonton over the summer. He's now playing on its AHL affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario, where he has scored eight goals and 11 assists in 20 games and is a plus-12.

"I'm just trying to transfer the same encouragement," said Peter Ferraro. "He's definitely good enough to be (in the NHL). In my opinion, he should be. I tell him to play hard, like he always does, and he'll be there. If not this year, then next."

Peter Ferraro knows they will always have something to prove because of their size. But, he said, they have what it takes to play in the NHL.

"We're both mature enough to know what we have to do to play at this level," he said. "You've got to come to the rink every day prepared to work hard.  And whatever role you're put in, you've got to accept it.

"If you're not a superstar or a guy who's looked to for one role, you've got to be versatile. And if that means playing on the second, third or fourth line, that's OK with me. You do what you have to do to help the team win."

Even if it means taking a big hit.

Copyright Portland Newspapers Dec 2, 1998

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