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Don’t Open That Door Mr. Shanahan

from Damien Cox of The Spin,

But the question NHL hanging judge Brendan Shanahan needs to ask himself is whether justice will be done if Kessel is suspended and the Buffalo Sabres don't receive any sanctions at all, not even a token fine.

If Shanahan chooses that option, he will be in effect opening the door to a strategy in which enforcers can jump star players on opposing teams without the league coming down hard on them. The league should protect its marquee players, although it seldom makes that a priority and instead allows the Patrick Kaletas of the world to run wild. You can say Kessel did wrong, but you better have a explanation as to how he should have handled a 6-foot-8 goon who had already dropped his gloves.

You can argue the goon in question, John Scott, did nothing overly wrong under the rules of the game, other than breaking them and getting a penalty. But in combination with Buffalo coach Ron Rolston, Scott instigated the entire affair by doing what most NHL people would argue is completely against the culture and spirit of the game, and that's menacing a skill player who had done absolutely nothing to provoke Scott.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink



I think this about the 3rd column in a row by Cox that is actually pretty good. I agree that if they suspend Kessel and do nothing to Scott or Rolston, it will be open hunting on star players.

Posted by timbits on 09/24/13 at 09:17 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

You can say Kessel did wrong, but you better have a explanation as to how he should have handled a 6-foot-8 goon who had already dropped his gloves.

Don’t give him that second chop while two of your teammates are holding him back.

Then don’t go back for more to jab at him with your stick while he’s still being held by your teammates.

Heck, even as somebody who’s ok with the first chop that Kessel gave, there’s still the option to turtle or flat run. I’m sure there are people who would have made fun of Kessel for turtling against John Scott. I don’t care about those opinions.

And here’s the big thing in all of this. The Code?  *#$%@& the Code. It’s stupid bullshit in the first place. You want a set of rules that lay out what you’re supposed to do in any situation in the game? Actually codify that shit. John Scott is taking up an NHL roster spot because of a set of imaginary rules that all these tough, honorable guys are too dumb and cowardly to try and make into real rules.

John Scott should be suspended for his day-after interview where he basically said that he began his next shift with every intention of breaking the NHL rules. I don’t give a shit if it’s against Phil Kessel or Colton Orr. Ron Rolston should be punished for knowing who and what John Scott is and leaving him on the ice to take that shift and start that scrum.


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/24/13 at 09:29 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

If I had that big bastard coming after me, I would have fed him that stick, hoping that the synthetic fibers got caught in his teeth long enough for me to run for my life.  So its really hard for me to fault Kessel for what he did.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/24/13 at 09:47 AM ET


Mountain out of a molehill.

This has been going on for decades.  It happens to Toronto and OH MY GOD!

Of course, this was the same club that rolled Tie bleeping Domi out there for years, had 11 more major penalties than the #2 most majored team last year (46 to 35), and is routinely in the top 3rd in that category.

But yeah, it sort of sucks when a team rolls their tank out there to beat your best player into a pile of crap.  Here’s an idea, if that sucks so much then don’t rely so much on fighting/fighters.

A team should have a competent tackler out there to short circuit stuff like that late in games.  If they don’t then that’s on the coach.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/24/13 at 09:57 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

A team should have a competent tackler out there to short circuit stuff like that late in games.  If they don’t then that’s on the coach.

That’s meathead hockey. Also, it’s irrelevant when a line is on the ice and the goon squares off against the skill guy while the meathead for your side is on the bench. He can’t leave the bench.

That Buf/Tor game is a good reason to give long suspensions for fighting rather than a 5 minute penalty. It was a sideshow perpetrated by a team that just can’t play hockey against a team that’s just sorta bad at playing hockey.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 09/24/13 at 12:03 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I don’t believe that Scott or his coach should get off on this, but the fact remains that a player cannot slash at an opponent like Kessel did without getting nailed hard.  He even picked up his stick and whacked away at Scott after he had dropped it and his gloves to punch someone.  That is cowardly and really wrong.  It is just as wrong as the Buffalo head jerk (I will not mention his name nor call him a coach) putting his goon out there to maul a skill player.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/24/13 at 01:35 PM ET


The play before Leafs to went after a Sabres player. Now Leafs coach expects no retaliation. Carlyle created the problem. Lost respect for Carlyle. His players are undisciplined, leaving the bench and obvious slashing and intent to injure. If Shanahan doesn’t suspend Kessel it will be a bigger injustice than not suspending Rick Nash for his headhunting on Tomas Kopecky last year.

Posted by Puckbubba on 09/24/13 at 01:57 PM ET


Too much bitching about this. A goon on Toronto, instead of challenging a goon on Buffalo (who was on the ice) challenged a non-fighter half his size and slammed his helmet less head on the take down, probably fracturing his skull. Scott responded how he’s supposed to. Kessel responded to Scott how he should have.

Only thing I’d do in this situation if I were the league is chuck Clarkson for 10 and try to get Devane released and blacklisted.

Posted by larry on 09/24/13 at 02:20 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Corey Tropp asked for that fight with Devane.

This is the kind of player the poor, innocent Corey Tropp is.


Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/24/13 at 02:29 PM ET

Royal Grand Exalted PooBah's avatar

Kessel has to get a suspension. If Shanny lets this go then it would send a message to star players it’s ok to swing your stick. I don’t think it would take long before Sidney or other star players would be running around elbowing people and then using his stick to chop at anyone that came after them.

Using your stick like that is never ok. I saw a real stick fight back in the 70s in the IHL.
It wasn’t pretty. It was pretty much just like “Dr Hook” Steve McCracken in slap shot except it was real.

Posted by Royal Grand Exalted PooBah from the basement of the Alamo on 09/24/13 at 04:22 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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