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.

Comments (32)

  1. If I were a Sabres fan I would be unbelievalbly upset that Ryan Miller and his history of concussions decided it was a good idea to go get punched in the head a bunch of times for no reason in a preseason game.

    We’ve seen what concussions can do to a goalies game, and the last thing Miller and the Sabres need is his value to be decreased even more

  2. Kessel would have done the Sabres and the league a favor if he broke Scott’s ankle.

    • You’re not kidding. I’m a Sabres fan and I’m sick of constantly having to argue with morons that he’s taking a roster spot of someone who could actually help the team win

      You should hear these idiots defending him today

      • The only reason he’s there is no one did a thing when Lucic ran Miller, and Meyer was on the ice at the time. They should send ‘em both out in a package. Scott renders them short-handed whenever he steps on the ice.

  3. I am so ashamed of what occurred last night between Kessel and Scott. It’s a man’s game. It looked like Phil was giving him a fair amount of lip service to begin with. So if you’re going to mouth off be prepared. And if it does go down? TURTLE! Wait for your ‘mates. Don’t swing your stick like Paul Bunyan!

    • Scott is 8 inches taller and 70 lbs heavier than Kessel, expecting him to turtle and risk Scott getting a few shots in is ridiculous, the only thing Kessel did wrong is not getting Scott somewhere that would have actually hurt

    • Kessel is actually important to his team. So not getting within punching distance is better than turtling.

      Hell, getting banned for the rest of the pre-season for the slashes might even be considered an upside.

    • So you think he was mouthing off and not saying something like, “Are you fucking kidding me? Get the fuck away from me you giant fucking fuck”?

  4. Kessel sets such a good example for kids out there with his stick work. Disgusting, Toronto fans have to admit they would hate the guy if he wasn’t a leaf.

    • Toronto fan here, would not hate him if he was on another team and did the same thing. Calm down, you should be more upset that Clarkson was such an idiot.

    • Toronto fan here. Considering I’ve always hated (and not been afraid to say so) having goons like Orr and McLaren whenever they do stupid shit like this, case in point last season’s beat down of the Habs, no I don’t mind a skilled player defending himself in the wisest way possible.

      If you want, say, Vanek to chop Orr or McLaren… go nuts I say.

  5. all you guys hating on kessel should look in the mirror. he’s arguably one of the best goal scorers in the league, and a smaller one at that. scott is a beast of a man who cant play hockey for shit. has no right to go redeem tropp’s knockout since tropp started throwing punches first. if devane had gone after hodgson or…..whoever their star players are i could understand the logic of going after kessel. would you want crosby, ovechkin, giroux getting mugged by a goon like scott? get real

    • How is looking in the mirror going to change the fact Kessel is like your little brother that lips off and then hides behind his mom/dad? He chirped and then kept the man he chirped at bay by wildly swinging his stick until his teamates tie the guy up so he could tee off with a lumber jack chop trying to break the guys ankle.
      For those of you stickling up for the honour of Phil Kessel the cleanest player ever, who are wondering what else he could do, he could not lip off anyone he can’t handle without swinging his stick like Dr. Hook McCracken. That Shit’s only cool in slap shot for make believe.

      • Get your facts straight. Scott says something to Kessel first, who later claimed Scott said he was going to jump him. You can see Kessel suddenly turn to look at him and get a hand up in defense, and then Scott does try to jump him which kind of lends credence to Kessel’s claim.

        • “Get your facts straight”?
          I must do better like yourself, with “facts” such as “Scott says something to Kessel first, who later claimed Scott said he was going to jump him”.
          That sounds like a lot of speculation and claims to me. Also sounds like what I would say if I ran my mouth to someone who would rather fight than talk and had to fend them off with my stick.

    • Sabres star players?

  6. I suspect Kessel gets a game suspension at most, like what happened to Cammaleri did for his hack in Niederreiter.

    • Cammalleri also waived his stick at Niederreiter’s face like he was going to cut him. That was certainly more aggressive and dangerous than what Kessel did. That being said, I think he has to get something for the second slash when Scott had three leafs already on his back. You can’t set a precident that it’s OK to use your stick in a brawl.

    • He gets a game no matter what because of the match penalty; I expect that they’ll just ban him for the rest of the preseason to “send a message.”

  7. With all the hubbub around equipment these days I wonder if Bickell’s “wardrobe malfunction” was ripped pants.

    Although soiling himself is a better story.

  8. Nobody covered themselves in glory here. The league should send a mesage to all involved. Kessel I can almost justify..until he spears uber-ape Scott whilst he is in a scrum.

    • Bit dramatic calling it a “spear”. He poked him in the ribs, he didn’t charge in and try and impale Scott like it was an actual spear.

  9. Geez, between this and nearly fighting Crawford in the playoffs last year, Bernier’s developing quite a hothead reputation.

    Gotta figure that Reimer was up there in the press box muching popcorn and hoping Miller landed a good shot….

  10. It’s like people already forgot Kessel turned around and won a fair fight on his own.

  11. I think the only thing Kessel did that I didn’t like, was come back into the fray and spear scott once things had died down. Scott on the other hand…

  12. I was not impressed with his second slash and “spear” but i was impressed that he actually did stand his ground with someone his own size and kicked his ass. Scott does not belong in the NHL

  13. As a Devils fan, I can’t help but to laugh at the whole Clarkson thing. I feel bad for the guy, because I think he’s going to trash the rest of his career with antics like this. He goes home and think he’s someone he’s not.

    There have been events similar to this during his time in NJ. This game from 2 years ago comes to mind, when the Flyers were getting a little dirty and Kovalchuk stood up to Parise: http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/109494 – Did Clarky come flying off the bench? Nope. I think Clarkson’s got the idea that in order to make a big name for himself and have his name in lights at the ACC, he’s got to take all comers. The problem is, with a contract of his size, he’s got to score, too. And missing about 1/8th of the season isn’t going to help that.

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