Just before the game last night, the league announced that Phil Kessel was suspended for Tuesday’s game and the two remaining preseason games against Detroit this weekend for his extra two-handed slash on John Scott.
Scott got away with nary a fine. While he violated the main tenet of the unwritten hockey fighting code, and has no real business sharing an ice surface with Phil Kessel to begin with, he didn’t technically break any existing rules. In an effort to punish the other side of the fiasco – the team that, between Tropp goading Devane into a fight he never should’ve started and Scott dropping his gloves and chasing after Kessel, actually started the whole thing – the league discipline office handed down a fine to Sabres head coach Ron Rolston for his “player selection,” something that should really be retroactively applied to any coach or GM that ever allowed Scott a place on their roster along the path to where he is today.
Upon an additional replay of the whole sequence, I picked out something I found to be far more dangerous than anything Kessel did in the heat of the battle. I don’t condone two-handed slashes on anybody, even John Scott, when down on the ice, but Kessel was clearly of a different mind and very freaked out by Scott’s deranged behaviour. This would be a much different story if he swung higher, at the head (which, in this case, would also require jumping).
Anyway, here’s a closeup of what I’m referring to. Watch what #24 of the Sabres, Drew Bagnall does after coming in from behind and grabbing Ashton.
Grabbing someone from behind and trying to cold cock him while he’s unaware of an incoming punch, with a full (and I mean full) swing from behind is an incredibly dangerous act. Ashton was engaged in another battle at the time, was half-doubled over, and would’ve had no clue who was behind him; he wouldn’t have known it was a ref pulling him out of the fight, or if it was Drew Bagnall trying to end him. Thankfully, either Ashton dodged it or Bagnall swung so hard he missed, because that could have been a devastating blow. Afterward, Ashton turned around and took another punch from Bagnall, before socking the guy and taking him down to the ice.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of craziness going on in this fight and the Leafs were no darlings. But if we’re singling out offences, I’d say a swing with type of force and intent, from the blindside at a vulnerable opponent, was easily the most dangerous thing that happened in the chaos of the skirmish.
Wednesday Morning Links…
Last night’s game recap from Michael Stephens.
Leafs lose their first preseason game in regulation.
David Clarkson explains his suspension
Pretty classy interview.
Shannahan’s explanation of the Kessel suspension
Shanahan draws on the slashes on Schenn in this video as well.
Tyler Biggs scores awesome goal in Marlies practice
The latest from Marlies camp courtesy of Jeffler.
Reimer stakes his claim; so does Bernier…and then those fights
Michael’s take on the goaltending duel, and if you haven’t read enough about them yet, the fights, too.
Rielly decision still no easier for Maple Leafs
If Franson doesn’t sign, it becomes pretty easy doesn’t it? At least for the first 9 games.
Transcription of the Kessel hearing
ICYMI, be sure to check out the latest episode of the Maple Leaf Hangout featuring guest Gus Katsaros.
Oh man, I just re-watched this and it's the same Sabre who tries to hit Ashton(#37) in the back of the head that gets grabbed from behind by Brennan(#25) who just escaped the big pile of bodies. Then Ashton proceeds to give a heavy right hand to the face. Just wow....
Not hockey related but DAM !
So Rolston says"change this game around! we are losing and you are packin' if you don't....!" ....Broken Jaw...."OK Scott you too"....code broken, 10K fine for coach, Scott and him look like idiots.....Carlyle has the last match up, wouldn't bite - and, by the way Rolston, "its pre-season"....he's the worst culprit. Just my opinion.
FYI on Franson - Pulled this from an old article about playing overseas and waivers.
While Article 13:23 in the pre-2012-13 CBA specified that any player who plays in Europe after start of NHL regular season needs to clear waivers to play in the same season in the NHL, the recent Memorandum of Understanding between the league and Players' Association says all players on a club's reserve list and RFA list will be exempt from the application of 13:23.
Therefore, teams can now sign their own restricted free agents or draft picks out of Europe in mid-season and get them into their NHL lineup without risking them being plucked off the wire.
Posted this after reading below that Leafs would risk loosing Franson if he signed in Europe.
That was a sad game too watch last night. I also noticed that asshole #24 trying to cheap shot Ashton but obviously that fine with the league and the sabres. Colborne is very underwhelming, are his wrists ok;0? Gardiner and Reilly can both really move the puck out of trouble, i'm expecting top 10 #'s from Gardiner this season amongst defensemen. Reimer was a 9.5 last night, played great
@TheCanucksnaphook You still need to sign up with a credit card right?
@TheCanucksnaphook I agree and wouldn't be moving him out, at this point, either.
@TheCanucksnaphook ...and unluckily, the winning goal (I believe) bounces off his skate as if it were exactly passed putting Riems out of position....it looked weird
@CanuckUKinToronto He is probably still refering to Kaberle !
@Pent_House Out of hockey for 3 years, first taste of NHL action this pre-season. While I do think the top 4 expectations are a bit ridiculous at this point, he still has many NHL qualities that should not be overlooked. What you said is true, but it's not like those aren't fixable errors. He's certainly a better option than Holzer at this point and should be the 7th Dman(when Franson comes back). It seems like his first few pre-season games were better when he was playing less minutes. Just like a young kid, he needs to be eased back into the NHL to give him time to improve.
Ranger had a bad game last night,and for the first time I noticed a lot of what you spoke of prior
He had looked fabulous for most of the games I saw before,but the competition was lesser and Ottawa plays a good system exposing those who aren't tight defensively
Hope Randy can get him to clean up the mental errors...time will tell.
@TOHockeyNut Thanks, I think.
@ShotgunCharlie WHAT? You're pulling my leg.
@ShotgunCharlie lol wow .. stymied for words
@ShotgunCharlie wow Frogren's back??
@CanuckUKinToronto What can you say about a guy(clarkson) who took over 600 000 dollars out of his wallet to ensure his teammate(s) would be safe
@CanuckUKinToronto I don't think anybody dislikes Clarkson as a person or a player. Just the contract.
@CanuckUKinToronto Heard him on the Fan. He's a real impressive man. Nice to see a strong quality guy like that being a spokesperson with the Leafs.
@CanuckUKinToronto He is a genuinely nice guy!
Notice what he said at the end...."the response from players both on the team and throughout the league was overwhelming and special" (paraphrased)
Hockey players get it...and every team wished they had this guy in their room
The guy's a keeper
@Burtonboy Thinking about getting a new sweater....
@Burtonboy guys a genuinely nice person
@dlb eh i'm a little pessimistic this morning.,,Yes U are this am ,need a chocolate bar ? lol
@mlclearwater It was a sad game and I'm still pissed.
@Burtonboy cool. Still hate the oilers although not as much as last year.
@Burtonboy thats Eakins boy, foregone conclusion Hamilton makes the team
@TheCanucksnaphook I should say, unfortunate bounce....just unlucky..