Bernier Miller

The heck was that all about? Leafs and Sabres get feisty

There was absolute mayhem in the Air Canada Centre last night, as the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs got involved in a brawl that saw John Scott attempt to jump Phil Kessel, Kessel give a gigantic slash and get in a fight, and both goalies get in the mix as well.

Happening, everything, etc.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve got you covered:

 Some thoughts:

* This all gets going after Jamie Devane (a Leaf) knocks out Corey Tropp (a Sabre). The Sabres send John Scott over the boards, who promptly tells Phil Kessel he’s coming after him off the faceoff, then does. This is mind-blowing. My question for Scott is, what’s the plan here? Let’s say somehow the ogre catches the jackrabbit, was he just going to punch his face a bunch of times? I’m seeing it widely assumed that was the plan, and it probably was, but I just can’t believe it made sense in John Scott’s head, like, “this is going to go over swell with the league and Leafs.”

It’s so rare for it to happen (a heavy legitimately trying to fight a small scorer) that putting your star out against the other team’s meatbags is generally a great way to diffuse high tensions, as if to say “we’re not going to engage in your idiocy, we’re trying to play hockey.” Which is to say, I disagree with this take on Pension Plan Puppets this morning, which says that Carlyle made a mistake by putting Kessel out in that situation in the first place.

* David Clarkson is going to get suspended for 10 games for jumping the boards to get involved in the altercation. This dude is like a loyal, dumb dog that chases a ball into traffic because he knows you expect him to bring it back, and he doesn’t want to let you down.

With Paul Bissonnette just receiving one of these whopping suspensions (so it should be still fresh in your mind), how thick do you have to be to think “going to get tangled in a scrum right now is worth missing the first 10 games of the season.” And if you’re not thinking at all, as I suspect was Clarkson’s deal, that reflects even poorer. I don’t even get how he got over the boards without some teammate grabbing him and pulling him back to the pine, as occasionally happens on the bench. (Fun domino that this causes: Leafs now have to add another body to the roster, and they’re already wedged against the salary cap.)

* I’m hearing talk that people think Phil Kessel should be suspended for his back-of-the-leg chop on John Scott. The chop was comically blatant (as was the second), but based on situation and location (back of leg), I don’t think that was a suspendible play. That literally might be the safest option a guy like Kessel has to defend himself. I’d be surprised if an ex-player like Shanahan bothers with it, but if he does, I bet he just gives him pre-season games. (Hell, Kessel’s chops on that Flyers’ d-man last week were probably worse.)

* Goalie fight! Ryan Miller talks so much trash so confidently I was pleased to see he’d actually act, and not just speak. Obviously it was a pointless fight all around, and obviously Bernier tuned him up a bit, but whatever. That was fun.


Speaking of suspensions

Another suspendible act took place this weekend, when Zack Kassian wildly flailed his stick at Sam Gagner, accidentally catching the Oiler flush in the face and breaking his jaw (and removing a couple teeth). I say “accidentally” in that I don’t think he meant to catch Gagner in the face – I have no doubt he fully meant to give him a good hard smack with his stick, though.

It appears that Kassian went to finish his check on Gagner, who sees it coming a unloads the puck and pulls up. Feeling he’s going to miss Gagner by about three feet, Kassian recklessly flails his stick to give him a whack (gotta get something on the guy to make sure you didn’t travel all that way for nothin’, right?), and badly injures him.

I’m not quite to the point of Tyler Dellow (who’s bring up McSorely/Brashear and criminal action), but I do think it was a brutal play that totally hinders the Oilers and Gagner going forward with zero excuse. I’d like to see him get a handful of games. Totally unnecessary.


Paul Ranger tried a thing

Over the weekend the Leafs found themselves in a shootout that went about 23,000 rounds, meaning Paul Ranger eventually got the nod for Toronto. He tried the shot that just about every pro player does while casually skating in circles before practice: the kick stick.

Pre-season shootouts, folks. Thrilling stuff.


Pekka Rinne’s is back, still Pekka Rinne

Pekka Rinne hasn’t played hockey since May, when he had surgery on his hip. That’s sort of an important joint for a goaltender, so the Predators were a little nervous when he got bowled over early in the game.

Here’s Barry Trotz, Preds’ coach:

“My heart jumped after seven seconds into the game when he got bumped over. I laughed after the second period when he finally came off. We had a little timeout. I went over to him and said, ‘Well, you got your hip tested pretty good, you got run over and you fell in the corner and you had a couple of shots. That’s good for the confidence.’ ”

Rinne didn’t give up a goal in his debut, stopping 13 shots over two periods.


Bryan Bickell missed a game on Sunday because…he pooped his pants? I have no idea

Bryan Bickell was a scratch on Sunday for the Blackhawks game against the Red Wings, only he wasn’t supposed to be. And here’s the explanation we’ve been given:

I mean, he pooped his pants, right? Or maybe he zipped his little Bickell in his zipper and had a franks ‘n’ beans issue? That’s the best I can do with that information. He must have.