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Coaches React To Rolston Fine

from Chris Stevenson of QMI AGENCY/Ottawa Sun,

One coach who spoke to QMI Agency Wednesday afternoon was in the process of contacting his colleagues to form a united front to question the league on the decision to fine Rolston. The rookie Sabres coach had tough guy John Scott on the ice in Sunday night’s pre-season game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and all hell broke loose after Scott had an altercation with Leafs forward Phil Kessel....

One coach contacted by QMI was fuming with the decision to fine Rolston.

“So what am I supposed to do now?” he mused. “Do I call the ref over and call timeout so I can call (league vice-president of hockey operations) Colie Campbell and ask him who I can put on the ice?”

He said he was upset enough over the fine that he was thinking about refusing to do in-game interviews as a protest.

“What (Rolston) did was pretty much what a lot of us would have done in those circumstances,” said another coach. “Now the league is going to tell who we can and who can’t put on the ice? I have no problem with discipline for our actions, but dictating ‘player selection’ crosses a line in my mind.”

Another coach said life is tough enough for coaches with the pressure to win in this salary cap era and the chill that will come in the wake of the fine to Rolston makes their job even thougher.

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Comments

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Maybe the message will get out. Coaches are responsible for the lineup they put out. If you put a line of goons out against skill players with the intent to fight, you will get fined. This isn’t rocket science. If you put out goons and they don’t fight, you won’t have a problem. I am happy to see this reaction by some coaches, a bit of fear is a good thing.

Posted by timbits on 09/26/13 at 09:43 AM ET

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Timbits, didn’t Toronto have last change? Rolston put his guys out first, why is he to blame if Toronto put out their top line?

Posted by Tikan on 09/26/13 at 09:53 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Timbits, didn’t Toronto have last change? Rolston put his guys out first, why is he to blame if Toronto put out their top line?

Because putting out your top line to play hockey should always be a viable option where putting out a goon just to start a fight should never be.

To any coach in this situation I say *#$%@& you.

If this makes coaches doubt whether they should be putting out a guy they know is going to instigate trouble, then the fine is absolutely the right call. It makes it an actual deterrent.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 10:07 AM ET

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He was already on the ice! I don’t think he should have went after Kessel but that chicken shit slashing and spearing should never have happened either. It’s disgusting that Kessel gets three pre-season games for intentionally trying to hurt someone but Kassian gets the remainder of the pre-season and 5 regular season games for a reckless but unintentional injury.

Posted by Tikan on 09/26/13 at 10:20 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

He was already on the ice!

It wasn’t an icing play and Rolston was not required to keep him out there!  There is zero effective difference between sending him out and keeping him out! Especially since the previous stoppage had been a fight, which always delays the next faceoff!

The “already on the ice” argument is tired. Putting a guy out and leaving a guy out are the exact same thing as far as what a coach is doing.

It’s disgusting that Kessel gets three pre-season games for intentionally trying to hurt someone but Kassian gets the remainder of the pre-season and 5 regular season games for a reckless but unintentional injury.

Jumping another guy off a faceoff is intentionally trying to hurt someone and John Scott didn’t receive any supplemental discipline at all.

And Kassian was absolutely trying to hit a guy high with his stick, so the injury isn’t really unintentional.  If Kessel had swung his stick at Scott’s face, you bet your ass he’d have gotten a harsher penalty.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 10:34 AM ET

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My comment got eaten which I’d a pain on the smart phone. Kassian absolutely meant to high stick. He read in on his own power in a controlled manner. I think he meant to whip his stick across the body and not the face, but it was completely absolutely totally obviously intentional.

Rolston for what he deserved. He was looking for retribution Bessie his tough guy started a fight and got pounded. Putting Scott out there was an indication buffalo was only interested in goonism, not hockey. The Leafs shouldn’t be allowed to put out a line to pay hockey in a hockey game because the visitor put out a goon squad? Please. It’s the nhl, not the wwe.

Posted by teldar on 09/26/13 at 11:37 AM ET

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There are rules and penalties for slashing, leaving the bench during an altercation, and instigating.  Ok with all of them to certain degrees.

There is NO rule on the books about “player selection”, that is the crux of this issue.

As such, you have a league making up rules on the fly.

That is very WWE like

Posted by Cubanpuckstopper on 09/26/13 at 12:24 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

People here seem to be ignorant of the fact that Scott played about 10 minutes (he is a forward) that game and had an assist in the first 50 minutes of play. In other words he was a regular part of their fourth line. The Sabres were also down 3 forwards at that point in the game. Telling a coach he can’t ice his fourth line because the other team put out their first line for their last change is beyond absurd. So… this article makes complete sense because the NHL basically just told coached league wide they may fine you if the other coach tries to take the high road and you can’t do anything about it. Makes no sense. If the Sabres had last change? Sure. When Toronto does? No. Absurd. Carlyle had been matching lines all game long and this was never the matchup he did previously. But yeah… blame Rolston.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 12:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

the NHL basically just told coached league wide they may fine you if the other coach tries to take the high road and you can’t do anything about it.

Hahaha

Of course they can fine you for not taking the high road!

The thought that Rolston can’t do anything about John Scott not taking the high road is absurd.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 12:57 PM ET

Primis's avatar

“So what am I supposed to do now?” he mused. “Do I call the ref over and call timeout so I can call (league vice-president of hockey operations) Colie Campbell and ask him who I can put on the ice?”

What are you supposed to do now?  STOP WASTING ROSTER SPOTS ON GOONS.  GET SOME ACTUAL PLAYERS TO PLAY, YOU F***ING MORONS.

Jesus…

Chris Peters of of the US of Hockey blog tried making this argument.  “What are coaches supposed to do, babysit?” which shows just how MUCH the entire point here has been missed.  If you are dressing someone to play that needs babysitting, you’re not doing your job as a coach.

It was Rolstons’ responsibility that Scott is in the lineup AT ALL.  Last change is irrelevant.  Scott being out on the ice first is irrelevant.  At the end of the day, Rolston’s mistake is in dressing Scott at all.

And I get the feeling the league really wishes they could flat-out just say that, but they can’t because by God you have to baby the NHLPA.  God forbid you offend .5% of the NHLPA in the name of the safety of the other 99.5% of their membership.

Posted by Primis on 09/26/13 at 01:18 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Telling a coach he can’t ice his fourth line because the other team put out their first line for their last change is beyond absurd.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 12:34 PM ET

Dressing John Scott to skate in a hockey game is beyond absurd.

Posted by Primis on 09/26/13 at 01:19 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Let’s not try to make out John Scott to be ANYTHING other than what he is here.  You want some facts?

hockeydb lists Scott’s stats since 01-02 in the NAHL.  In that season, in that low of a level, Scott managed 4G and 8A.

In his entire recorded career on hockeydb, Scott has managed a total of 18 Goals and 31 A over 12 recorded seasons (including pros, college, and American juniors).  He has no scored an NHL goal since the 09-10 season, and since then has scored only 2 assists in that period.

Let’s not try to pretend Scott is a hockey player.  He is not.  He is a big slab of meat payed to punch people, with no other skills whatsoever.

Posted by Primis on 09/26/13 at 01:27 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

Okay, lets do that. After the Sabres brought on John Scott, which I’m pretty sure they did in direct response to Lucic running Miller, the games between the Sabres and Bruins have been completely tame. Well, after he concussed Thorton in a fight. That’s why he is on their team. The Sabres used to ice a team without a goon and they were taken advantage of, telling them to stop doing that when it clearly has helped them deal with the other teams that take liberties is ignorant to what Scott actually has done. Sorry I don’t have stats to show you that, but it is obvious to anyone who watches the Sabres and Bruins regularly that that happened.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 01:34 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

telling them to stop doing that when it clearly has helped them deal with the other teams that take liberties is ignorant to what Scott actually has done

The Sabres went from a 9-seed missing the playoffs by a mere three points with a -12 goal differential in the year Lucic ran Miller all the way DOWN to a 12-seed carnival fart with a -18 differential.

They went from a 48% Fenwick Close team (23rd in the league) to a 43.7% possession team (dead *#$%@& last)

Clearly, the Buffalo Sabres have dealt with the ignominy of that one time that one dude ran their goalie and they got embarrassed about it.  Good job, Sabres. Good effort.

Sorry I don’t have stats to show you that, but it is obvious to anyone who watches the Sabres and Bruins regularly that that happened.

Hahahaha

Maybe if the Sabres would focus more on playing hockey than trying to beat up on all of the bad men who play hockey better than they do, people would stop laughing at their organization.

John Scott makes the Sabres a worse team and he makes the NHL a worse league. He has no discernible hockey talent.  The Sabres are perfectly ok to ice their 4th line in whatever game situation they wish. The problem isn’t the fourth line; the problem is that John Scott is on their fourth line and John Scott told everybody that he went out to do what he’s paid for.

This clearly indicates John Scott is not paid to play hockey. This is a problem because it’s bad for the game and by all measures, it’s bad for the Sabres.  At least they don’t feel as embarrassed every time they lose a game though.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 02:02 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

“Clearly, the Buffalo Sabres have dealt with the ignominy of that one time that one dude ran their goalie and they got embarrassed about it.  Good job, Sabres. Good effort.”

Yeah, you made it so clear. That was obviously the ONLY change the team made. They didn’t fire their coach or anything… trade away most of their veteran players… nope, nothing like that happened. Derp.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 02:07 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 02:07 PM ET

Oh, are they not a worse team now than they were when a nothing incident blew up into a big deal because the Sabres’ whiny goalie put the pressure on his team to build themselves in the wrong direction?

“Bringing in John Scott was a bad decision” does not have to rely on it being the ONLY decision.

What John Scott has brought to the Sabres was 34 games worth of 0G 0A wasted time hockey on a team that needed skill players to make up for the fact that they were so bad. 

But hey, the Sabres being bad isn’t ALL about John Scott, so he must be working on some dumb level.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 02:27 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

No. What John Scott has done in those 34 games is kept other teams from taking as many liberties with the Sabres skill players as they used to. That’s it. That is why they have him. That is what he does. Other teams do the same. Toronto has two goons and they made the playoffs last year.

Teams don’t ice their goons every game, only the games they feel they need them. Is that taking a spot from another skill player? I don’t think so. Skill players need ice time and clearly Buffalo thought they had good enough skill players. Obviously they were wrong about that, but trying to say the reason they didn’t have enough is because they had John Scott is silly. How could any team with goons ever make it to the playoffs if that were the case? It isn’t some weird formula that only non-playoff teams use.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 02:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

No. What John Scott has done in those 34 games is kept other teams from taking as many liberties with the Sabres skill players as they used to. That’s it. That is why they have him. That is what he does. Other teams do the same. Toronto has two goons and they made the playoffs last year.

How many more liberties would other teams have taken if John Scott weren’t out there wasting six minutes per night fighting other team’s circus sideshows?

Is it enough liberties to assure the Sabres do worse than 16-15-3 in those 34 games? that’s a 16-18 record they got wasting a roster spot with a worthless hockey player.  I guess nobody died in those games, so it’s a net positive, even though they lost more than they won and hey! Maybe playing a fourth liner who actually scores goals turns a few of those Ls into Ws.

Toronto has two goons and they made the playoffs last year.

Chicago has zero full-time goons and they won the Stanley Cup.

How could any team with goons ever make it to the playoffs if that were the case?

Some teams are capable of overcoming the self-imposed disability they saddle themselves with in the chase to be “tough to play” against.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 03:11 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

“...even though they lost more than they won and hey!”

They lost more than they won with him not in the lineup too, what point does that stat help you make?

And the Bruins won the cup with a goon (or two) in their lineup. Again… the point of the goon doesn’t define how good a team is. The point of a goon is to detract other teams from taking liberties. That is it. I get that you have some sort of hatred for them but that doesn’t mean their existence is pointless. Until the NHL gets better at player discipline there will be a need for some teams to have goons, and said goon does serve a purpose.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 03:47 PM ET

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What I have learned from this sequence of comments is that if a goon on the other team beats up a roster player on your team (breaking his jaw, then slamming his helmetless head into the ice after he’s unconscious), the away coach must change fresh players and play the “first” line (presumably whether they’re tired or not), despite not knowing who the other coach will be putting out.

I have also learned that John Scott has a similar or greater effect on the outcome of any Buffalo game last season (playing 4 minutes per night) than trading both their best forward and #1 center did without replacing either.

There’s a good argument in this Buffalo and Toronto situation for why the goon is more trouble than he’s worth, but it’s got nothing to do with Scott, Rolston, or Buffalo’s win-loss record, and everything to do with a non-hockey player (Devane) goading a hockey player (Tropp, who presumably didn’t know Devane, previously a junior player, was a bruiser, not a player) into a fight and hurting him, which, predictably, kicked off a circus.

No Toronto goon in this game, no circus.

Posted by larry on 09/26/13 at 03:57 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

They lost more than they won with him not in the lineup too, what point does that stat help you make?

It helps prove that Buffalo is a bad team with bad ideas on how to put together a good lineup.

The point of a goon is to detract other teams from taking liberties.

The point of hockey games is to win by scoring more goals. Not only is there no evidence that goons actually prevent liberties from being taken, but there’s no evidence that avoiding liberties makes you any better.  There’s actually evidence to support that protecting yourself from “liberties” only leads to a self-defining goon show where it’s two dinosaurs protecting the other team from each other, despite none of the star players actually being in danger of them. There’s actually evidence to support that teams are trading those false liberties for guys who don’t drive possession.

John Scott didn’t protect Corey Tropp on Sunday, he tried to avenge his own player getting his own ass kicked.

You’re absolutely right that player discipline should be better.  It’s partially up to the coaches to help ensure that. Fining/punishing coaches who don’t keep control of their own players’ discipline is a step in the right direction.

If the league is going to be too chickenshit to throw the book at John Scott for starting a shift with every intention of dropping the mitts with a player who doesn’t want to fight, then punishing the coach for leaving a wild animal on the ice to do wild animal bullshit is the right call.

That’s why Rolston got fined and that’s exactly the message that should be going to coaches, GMs, players, and fans.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 04:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yeah, once again, here is Corey Tropp… the poor innocent victim of “being goaded” into a fight with a guy who was going to crush him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI-sYE1DsMs

the away coach must change fresh players and play the “first” line (presumably whether they’re tired or not), despite not knowing who the other coach will be putting out.

Yes, because “The problem isn’t the fourth line; the problem is that John Scott is on their fourth line and John Scott told everybody that he went out to do what he’s paid for.” means exactly that.

Get real.

You’re absolutely right that if Devane isn’t playing, none of this stuff happens. If Corey Tropp weren’t a hotheaded dipshit, none of this stuff happens. If John Scott isn’t a worthless meatbag, none of this stuff happens. If Ron Rolston keeps control of his worthless meatbag players, none of this stuff happens.

The John Scott decision remains the second-worst decision made in this entire sequence. Punishing Corey Tropp any more than he already got punished would be absurd. Not punishing somebody for the Scott decision would be equally dumb.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 04:08 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

“It helps prove that Buffalo is a bad team with bad ideas on how to put together a good lineup.”

So, doesn’t that also prove that about every other team that employs goons and therefore doesn’t know how to put together a good team… like the Leafs and Bruins? Heck, Scott was playing for the Blackhawks after they beat the Flyers for the cup, but I guess we have proven that they don’t know how to put together a good team.

I think all this thread has proven to me is that you like to argue and have the last say.

Posted by clownfat on 09/26/13 at 04:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So, doesn’t that also prove that about every other team that employs goons and therefore doesn’t know how to put together a good team… like the Leafs and Bruins?

No. It proves this…

Some teams are capable of overcoming the self-imposed disability they saddle themselves with in the chase to be “tough to play” against.

And

Scott was playing for the Blackhawks after they beat the Flyers for the cup, but I guess we have proven that they don’t know how to put together a good team.

Let me go look up how the Hawks performed when they had John Scott on their roster… *GASP!*

Oh…you… you might not want to look at that.

They even replaced Scott with Carcillo and then severely limited his play because he generally wasn’t needed… which is hilarious because in the 51 games Dan Carcillo played for the Blackhawks, he scored four times as many goals as John Scott has in his entire 160-game NHL career.

I think all this thread has proven to me is that you like to argue and have the last say.

When I’m as right as I am about how terrible a decision it was for Ron Rolston to even dress a worthless plug like Scott, let alone actually use him in a situation like he did, I can’t stand the thought of any stupid apologist bullshit making excuses for a decision so ridiculous.

The circular logic about the usefulness of goons when all they go out and do is cause more trouble is so antithetical to me in a game as good as hockey. Whatever it takes to get people who think they get paid to punch faces and not play hockey out of the game, that’s a good thing.  I’m at the point where I would accept them banning fighting altogether just to eliminate the John Scotts from the league.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/26/13 at 05:11 PM ET

Avatar

Yeah, once again, here is Corey Tropp… the poor innocent victim of “being goaded” into a fight with a guy who was going to crush him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI-sYE1DsMs

Might want to check that replay from the reverse angle instead of reading the title of the video and not watching it. Conboy suckered this guy by himself. Tropp gave him a light shove on the leg (and was then, strangely, punched by Conboy).

You’re absolutely right that if Devane isn’t playing, none of this stuff happens. If Corey Tropp weren’t a hotheaded dipshit, none of this stuff happens.

I’d be interested in knowing the percentage of NHL players who wouldn’t lose their cool when a guy they don’t know is whacking them in the balls with his stick, which is what Devane was doing that caused the subsequent clown show. Even the most gentle, non-violent, level-headed players don’t usually like that.

Bottom line is Devane, who is a goon, decided to pick a fight with a non-goon because he was afraid of the other goon, who was on the ice and waiting for a challenger. Then, he made a second-no-no, in that once the guy was out, he decided to slam his helmet-less head into the ice to end the fight. What he’s supposed to do in that situation is pull up as the other guy falls.

That guys like Devane trick guys like Tropp into joining their sideshow is a pretty good argument for getting goons out of the game. Just as Jessie Boulerice trying to start a fight with Kesler by high sticking him 6 years ago was a great argument for getting guys like him out of the game.

But what Scott did (drop the gloves against Kessel to send a message to Carlyle about his players’ actions)? What Kessel did (use his stick to get the ogre away from him)? What Rolston did (which is to not make a line change)? Once Pandora’s box was opened by Devane, everybody else acted appropriately—except Clarkson.

If there’s a problem here, it’s that guys like Devane are there to do nothing but open that box. I don’t think much of John Scott, but he doesn’t have much of a history of starting problems, and certainly shouldn’t be singled-out for putting a scare to Carlyle without actually hurting anyone.

I would think Red Wings fans, of all people, would be familiar with the intricacies of Carlyle hockey and how it needs to be answered.

Posted by larry on 09/26/13 at 07:46 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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