Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Kessel Embarrasses NHL and Toronto Maple Leafs

Phil Kessel‘s actions  are a disgrace to the NHL and a disgrace to hockey’s most famous franchise.

For those that did not see the game or highlights from a couple of nights ago (those living under rocks I’m looking in your direction), Buffalo Sabres enforcer John Scott challenged Toronto Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel to a fight and while fleeing conflict Kessel turned his stick into a weapon and delivered two brutal slashes and a spear to Scott.

It was a cowardly and embarrassing moment for Kessel who is usually one of the cleaner players in the game.

If Kessel’s actions weren’t enough embarrassment for the NHL the Sabres and Leafs decided to turn back the clock with an old-fashioned line brawl that included both goalies fighting.

But, the true embarrassment for the NHL came a couple of days later, as Kessel was suspended for the remainder of the preseason (3 games).  That’s it?  3  exhibition games for turning your stick into a weapon and attempting to injure another player?  3 exhibition games that Kessel might not have even dressed for?  Kessel clearly had intent to hurt Scott with his second slash.  If you want to say the first slash was self-defense, I will humor you, but Kessel was out of of danger when he attacked Scott with the second slash.  Scott, mind you, was tangling with another Leaf at the time and Kessel had open season on his legs.

Phil Kessel is supposed to be a role model for millions of young kids. Is this the type of hockey we want to see with our children? Is this a good example of sportsmanship and fair play? He will be an Olympian this winter.  Shouldn’t we expect more?

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL had an opportunity to throw the book at Phil Kessel and make an example of behavior that has no place in the game.  A 7-10 regular season game ban would have been fitting and sent the message to Kessel and players around the league that this sort of behavior won’t be tolerated.

Whether or not Kessel was a first time offender or not shouldn’t play a part in this suspension because it wasn’t a “hockey play”.  This wasn’t an accident or even a split second reaction such as a hit from behind.  This was border-line criminal.  The second slash that Kessel made was pre-meditated and designed to injure Scott.  That should be dealt with accordingly no matter how many offenses a player has had.

The crime should fit the punishment and in this case it should have at the very least been regular season games.

Kessel is a good player but there is no doubt he disgraced the Maple Leaf sweater along the institution of the NHL and should be held accountable for his actions.


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Tags: Buffalo Sabres John Scott Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Dylan nardone

    Couldn’t. Agree. More. Well said!!!!!!

  • Geoff Arbuckle

    What about Scott? My only thought on it is — with regards to slashing and intent to injure, Scott choosing to go after a guy half his size looking to pummel him is just as much intent to injure, if not more. Speaking from experience — being slashed in the well protected shin pads doesn’t really do any damage at all. It happens in every game, every practice, time after time. That is your most protected spot, your shins. Does anyone who fights with their fists do it without an intent to injure? Shouldn’t Scott get the same suspension then?

    If Scott had got ahold of Kessel, he could have broken his jaw. Kessel doesn’t know how to take a punch like that.

    The NHL and its fans, myself included won’t let them take fighting out of the game, yet it’s the greatest chance for causing injury. Kessel’s slash didn’t cause Scott any harm. If he went for his wrists or face, that’s a different story.

    Both players acted (Scott) and reacted (Kessel) in a way that certainly looks bad for the NHL and its players, no doubt. But to say Scott acted properly and didn’t provoke Kessel’s reaction to a situation he doesn’t usually intend to be in, isn’t necessarily fair either.

    Ha I think we can all agree if we’re talking disgracing the Maple Leafs sweater, there’s a lot worse we can come up with like Shayne Corson kicking Eric Cairns with his skate when he was down, Tie Domi cheap-shoting Scott Niedermayer in the playoffs and we few others I won’t dig up.

    • Katrina Capp

      Kessel’s first slash was self defense that’s not the one we are talking about plus if you watch the suspension video it is not the first time Kessel has used his stick as a weapon. Scott as a fighter would not have thrown a punch until Kessel’s gloves were off and he accepted the fight. Plus Kessel isn’t totally innocent he nudged Scott in the face off.

    • Matt Nolan

      Plus if kessel turtles and protected himself Scott would look like a deuche also leafs had last change so who’s really at fault Corey troop had his head ridden into the ice the previous play leafs fans cheered as he laid in blood so Scott stood up for his teammate who now has a broken jaw he didn’t pick kessel he linedup with the intent of going after that person regardless

    • Matt Nolan

      Also any slash should be an offense considering what happened with Zach kassian

  • Dion Chin

    Shut up.

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  • D.WAdair

    Who the bag l—-r who wrote this. Scoit was the one that should be embarrassses. Kessel was just smart to get away from the goon. You don;t hurt to many players by slashing them on the shin pads.