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.

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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.

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

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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]
  • Knights2Leafs

    Nice pick up Alec.  My response is simply look at who the Commissioner is.  You could easily allow fighting in the game but it is his job to get the arbitrary violence out of the game.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks !

  • Burtonboy

    So Poulin was just asked about Kessel negotiations and while he beat around the bush like he always does he pretty much said something could happen in the next few days

  • MaxwellHowe

    Morning all!  What is a Drew Bagnell anyway? 
    Decided to change the avatar after some livefyre nitwit trolled and harassed me during the game last nite.  I think it was a Pens fan, so nuff said.  Not important enough to me to squabble about.  Actually prefer Maxwell Smart anyway

  • Cameron19

    MaxwellHowe Missed it by that much….

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Bonjers my man

  • MaxwellHowe

    Cameron19 MaxwellHowe That woulda been a great post for a Maxwell Smart avatar on May 13, 2013.

  • Dink

    Burtonboy you mean extension?

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Mind Bomb Sup BB, do we have a Drama Free Day ? :)
    lol

  • TuckerForPunishment

    @Dink Burtonboy Yeah.  Kessel won’t negotiate once the season starts so something might get done before game 1.

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy See this makes me Happy BB, I almost though Nonis was going to leave it till the end

  • Dink

    TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy  lol well he has some time

  • Biltmore

    “Would you believe I have a hundred agents outside with machine guns? Would you believe twenty boy scouts with pocket knives? Would you believe a St. Bernhard in heat?”

  • Mind Bomb

    MaxwellHowe Morning Max, Love the Avatar, Agent 99 was my favorite though :P)

  • TuckerForPunishment

    @Dink TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy They can negotiate over cookies and milk in the press box.

  • Dink

    TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy lol

  • Dink

    Biltmore would you believe a hangnail?

  • Burtonboy

    @Dink Biltmore lol

  • TuckerForPunishment

    @Dink TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy 
    Nono: “So Phil?  Do we have a deal?”
    Kessel: “Are you gonna eat that double stuff?”

  • Burtonboy

    Poulin also raved about JVR. He said he was good last yr but this yr ever since day one of camp he’s been a completely different player , taken it to another level .

  • Burtonboy

    Good read Alec and good find. Take a number Carter ,you might run across this guy again sometime.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Burtonboy JVR is Mr. Consistency.  He doesn’t seem to slump.  Says Poulin.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Sick hands is an understatement lol.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy 
    I would trade 5 Lukes for JVR.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    MaxwellHowe One of Declan’s buddies?

  • LightmyLeaf

    TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy I’m taking JVR in my pool thi s weekend for sure…I think its his year….maybe Gardiner late….

  • Wilbur

    Best part of the Buf/Tor dust up and the Shanaban follow-up is all the Sabres fans (on other sites) that think the Sabres got jobbed. Too funny.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Wilbur Kessel should be banned for life?   Give me a break.

  • LightmyLeaf

    Mind Bomb MaxwellHowe Always loved Max’s entrance into the show, classic. I think a Drew Bagwell is an oversized hobbit….

  • Loric76

    MaxwellHowe bah, we didn’t have simpsons reference here as it was and now we’ve lost another…

  • Mind Bomb

    CanuckUKinToronto Mind Bomb Burtonboy I thing Part of the Problem for Franson, is Gardiner Rielly, Percy. We dont have anyone close to replacing what Kes Brings.

  • Wilbur

    TuckerForPunishment Wilbur Their belief that the Leafs got off lightly because it’s the Leafs and the league will never properly punish the Leafs made me giggle :)

  • Loric76

    Wilbur TuckerForPunishment lol…idiots.  If you want more proof of Sabre fan idiocy, just look at where most of them live.

  • Wilbur

    Mind Bomb CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Excellent point. We currently lack future top end talent in the forward ranks. There are ways to cover that up somewhat on D if you put the right group of 6 D together but you can’t cover that up if you lack it at forward.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Wilbur TuckerForPunishment We are one fucking hellova tough team and we can also play.  It’s killing all the haters.  They are terrified of us and should be.

  • Wilbur

    Loric76 Wilbur TuckerForPunishment I like flying out of their airport though….

  • LightmyLeaf

    Mind Bomb CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy agree, we are now loaded, but I have to agree with CUT, it happened long ago, before Frazer signing I bet.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TuckerForPunishment MaxwellHowe 
    Well I suggested the guy might himself consider another avatar, which was met with a screed in capital letters declaring I should eat a dick.  That sort of imbalance suggests an affiliation with Declan

  • Cameron19

    CanuckUKinToronto Mind Bomb Burtonboy lol, Well, they’re doing a deal based on next year’s cap, and he’s going to be making 8 million + per year….kind of a different scenario.

  • Loric76

    Those of you that caught the Poulin interview:  Did you catch the bit about having to trade someone before Franson can be signed, and Poulin responding that most people look to “that popular website that tracks team caps and salaries” (capgeek I’m assuming) and how inaccurate it was about displaying how much cap space each team really has?  He was talking about how the bonus cushion isn’t usually included in the cap space analysis when it should be.  He eventually conceded that yes it’s still going to be tight, and the trend across the NHL might become carrying 21-man rosters instead of 23 like previous years.

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 Yep heard that . I think if Franson said I accept your last offer they would sign him right now

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Loric76 Yeah, I heard that part.  So where does this scenario leave us cap wise?  Cameron, you seem to eat this shit up?

  • Cameron19

    Loric76 Capgeek actually does account for Bonus spending when you get in and look at their numbers a little closer though.  But yea, people generally don’t understand how that works – even members of the media. If Ashton were to be demoted to start the season and we ran a skeleton crew, we could clear up to 3.2M in cap space still.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Wilbur Lets checked the score card.  Tropp was knocked out cold.  Scott was chopped down and piled on.  Flynn was beaten up by Phil Kessel and Ryan Miller was tuned up by Bernier.  Yeah, I might feel a little sad if I was a sabres fan.  They might want to forget the whole thing happened.

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Loric76 The other thing he said was expect teams to run a 21 man roster this yr…. in fact he said it maybe a majority of them

  • Cameron19

    TuckerForPunishment Loric76 If we waive Liles, send Ashton to the AHL, Rielly to the WHL, and put Holzer and Brennan through waivers, we can clear 3.2M in cap space to sign Franson, which would give us a 21-man roster, with one of those guys suspended.

  • LightmyLeaf

    Cameron19 Loric76 get’r done w Franson, then bring Ashton back up after the trade….

  • Loric76

    Cameron19 TuckerForPunishment Loric76 so they do that, play with a 20-man roster on day one, and then call up Ashton as an emergency recall.

    Done.  Someone call Nonis and share our master plan.

  • Cameron19

    CanuckUKinToronto Cameron19 Mind Bomb Burtonboy Did Kadri end up being 2nd last for a reason?  The only reason is a lack of rights.  It could even be argued that Franson elected not to go to arbitration because he knew it might push him out of the organization.

  • LightmyLeaf

    Cameron19 Loric76 If we waive Liles, is he still going to be picked up by someone? Rather that then losing a prospect even….