The Toronto Maple Leafs faced off against the Buffalo Sabres last night in preseason action. The game quickly turned from the joke that most preseason games are into an absolute farce when all hell broke loose with a line brawl between the teams (even the goalies!). If you haven’t seen video of the skirmish, I would highly recommend sitting down and checking it out just to take in the sheer lunacy of the situation.
1) John Scott is an idiot.
That fact cannot be understated. In 353 professional hockey games (AHL & NHL combined), Scott has managed just 18 points. In those 353 games, Scott also has 707 penalty minutes. If I were as bad at my job as John Scott is bad at hockey, I would rightfully not be employed, but because NHL teams deem it prudent to have a literal hired goon to “skate” (if you can call what John Scott does that) around the ice looking for someone to punch in the face. Not figuratively, but literally punch in the face. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Even more ridiculous is that the 6’8″ 270 lb Scott decided that the 6’0″ 200 lb actual hockey player Phil Kessel (he with one career fight) would be an apt punching bag for the evening to send some sort of message to the Leafs (although I’m not sure John Scott has the ability to form a complete thought inside that head of his). If John Scott isn’t suspended for his idiocy, I’ve lost faith in the NHL, and hypocritically enough if Colton Orr or Fraser McLaren don’t do their thing on November 15th, I’ve lost faith in the point of having them on the Leafs.
2) David Clarkson is also an idiot
I’m sure that David Clarkson’s blood started to boil when he saw John Scott attempt to grab onto the Leafs start player with the intent to break him in to. I’m also quite sure that David Clarkson wants to show all of his teammates, and all of Leafs nation just how much he cares about the team. I’m positive that Clarkson, he of the obnoxiously large contract, should not have jumped off the bench to get at John Scott.
Setting aside the obviousness that John Scott is a terrifying human being whom I wouldn’t want my significant investment exchanging punches with, Clarkson is now going to be suspended, probably for the 10 games that Paul Bissonnette got for a similar infraction last week. If Colton Orr, Fraser McLaren, or any of the non-NHL roster players in last nights game had done the same thing I really would not have cared, but losing Clarkson, the team’s biggest acquisition of the offseason, for the first 10 games of the season does not bode well for getting off to the start the Leafs need to. Not to mention that Clarkson’s salary is still used against the cap during his suspension, which will put even greater pressure on Dave Nonis to work salary cap magic that he clearly can’t before the season starts. Ugh.
3) Phil Kessel Might Get Suspended
Under almost any other circumstances, a player slashing someone like Phil Kessel did last night would be a no doubt, slam dunk suspension. Considering the mitigating circumstances around Kessel’s work with the lumber, I don’t know if he will suffer that fate. Kessel was given a match penalty for the deliberate attempt to injure another player, which I find painfully ironic given what a fight is.
Kessel’s vicious slash may have crossed the line, but it was in self defesnse as a man that is 8 inches taller and 70 lbs heavier than he is tried to grab on to him with the intent of punching him in the face. If Kessel’s slashes were an intent to injure, what exactly was Scott’s attempt to fight Phil Kessel, attempt to maim?
4) Preseason Games (and “Enforcers”) Are Stupid
Seriously though, what is the point of even having this game? The Leafs are now short David Clarkson for 10 games, possibly Phil Kessel for a handful, and what do the Sabres lose? John Scott? Ugh.
I am neither for or against fighting in the NHL. I find it ridiculous that they are trying to improve “player safety” while still allowing those same players to bare knuckle box each other with minimal consequence, but if those guys want to suffer from CTE, that’s their choice. What I am against is for no skill hacks like John Scott (and the Leafs face punchers) to have NHL jobs that could be going to younger, better, and more deserving players.