The most dangerous act in the Sabres/Leafs brawl

The most dangerous act in the Sabres/Leafs brawl

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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
DGB’s latest.

***

ICYMI, be sure to check out the latest episode of the Maple Leaf Hangout featuring guest Gus Katsaros.

Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]

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479 comments
TheGroobster
TheGroobster

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....

LightmyLeaf
LightmyLeaf

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.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

I am disappointed in Colborne once the games started.  I, like many others in attendance, loved the Camp that he and Ashton had.  I have no idea what happened to him taking the next step.  He has looked "ok" but he is getting passed by Leivo and Ashton IMO.  He is still young enough and we keep him in the system.

TOHockeyNut
TOHockeyNut

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.

ShotgunCharlie
ShotgunCharlie

bahahahaha

Hurricanes Beat@CanesBeat4m

BREAKING.....#Canes add depth on the wing. Signing winger Nikolai Borschevsky, 1 year deal #Leafs

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

TSN Radio trashing Kulemin right now.. esp O-Dog.  Only Noodles has not written him off.. Hayes saying how Colborne passed by many now and unimpressive..

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

Just listened to Clarkson on TSN... Do not listen to any critic.. I am so glad he is a Maple Leaf. 

Class Act and wants one team and for Leafs to be special- ie. Win the Cup

LightmyLeaf
LightmyLeaf

@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

loomx
loomx

@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.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

@Pent_House 

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.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Funny. I think Nick would be about 48 now.

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@CanuckUKinToronto When you say written him off, what do you/they mean? He is going to be traded or can't contribute or ......?

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

@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

loomx
loomx

@CanuckUKinToronto I don't think anybody dislikes Clarkson as a person or a player. Just the contract.

mcloki
mcloki

@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.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@wendelsway1 Yup no chance....6'5 with good skills in the middle of the ice and along the boards.  Just need to somehow make him play with more desperation to his game IMO.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Greg Fenton @CanuckUKinToronto  I didnt say it.. they did.. I think they mean he will skates well and has great shot but never tries or goes to the areas to use it... So doubt he will be a good contributor above 3rd line and for his value thinks he would be traded

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Komas Taberle @CanuckUKinToronto  Sure sounds like it and I am sure all team mates think that way.. Guys like that are reasons why players want to extend and stay with the same team mates in the same city as they feel they have something special and that they can win.... and genuinely want to play with each other and look after each other

LightmyLeaf
LightmyLeaf

@TheCanucksnaphook @wendelsway1 I have the same problem with my 8 yr old, gifted skater, great IQ, good shooter.....says he's really wants to play, but needs passion....drives me nuts(internally).....I'm resorting to bribery.......what else can I do?

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@CanuckUKinToronto @Greg Fenton I don't know if thats completely unfounded. He had that one year with 30 goals, so he is capable, but then he has had 4 seasons of 16 or less, so......he did something that one year that he hasn't the others.....

Greg Fenton
Greg Fenton

@LightmyLeaf @Pent_House @MaxwellHowe @Greg Fenton @CanuckUKinToronto You have to remember the difference between real over abundance and percieved. 

The Leafs potentially have a lot of D-men depending on how Rielly, Percy, Finn, Blacker, Holzer, Granberg all work out, but if only one of those guys ultimately makes the NHL.... I think there might be more depth in the middle 6 forward group then on the defense right now. I dunno if Ashton or Raymond playing in that spot is any/much worse then having Kulemin there.