John Scott may want to look away from his phone.
The Buffalo Sabres enforcer was given a match penalty for a nasty blindside hit on Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, which came about six minutes into the third period of a 5-2 Buffalo loss. The hit can be seen in the following video.
Clearly, Scott targeted Eriksson’s head and made no effort to square up and make the hit legal. Yes, he’s 6’8″ and 259 pounds, but with as much open ice as Scott had, he easily could have avoided the situation.
Instead, Scott was given a major penalty for charging on the ice. Adam McQuaid jumped in right away to fight Scott and stand up for Eriksson, though the damage was already done.
Predictably, Twitter lit up after the hit. We’ll kick things off with SabreNoise contributor Caitlin Campbell.
Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards wasn’t pleased, either.
NHL veteran Jeff O’Neill is no fan of the hit, either.
A chilly reception, and that’s being generous.
Our own Patrick Helper addressed the idea of having Scott dress in this game earlier on Wednesday, with the Sabres having limited options at forward due to injuries and suspensions.
The hit is yet another black eye for the NHL, especially with the influx of suspensions for dirty and illegal hits. Earlier on Wednesday, Ryan Garbutt became the seventh player suspended this season for an illegal hit, and Scott will become the eighth, as well as the second Sabre on the list.
Make no mistake, Brendan Shanahan will throw the book at John Scott for his dirty play. His hit on Eriksson will demonstrate he didn’t learn anything from the preseason incident with the Maple Leafs, and this is the kind of inexcusable hit the NHL is trying to remove from the game. The hit fits Rule 21.1 governing match penalties perfectly.
A match penalty shall be imposed on any player who deliberately attempts to injure or who deliberately injures an opponent in any manner.
I’m wondering why Ron Rolston put Scott on the ice in the first place, similar to the scenario with the Maple Leafs. The Sabres were down 4-2, so putting a guy with five points and 309 penalty minutes in his career on the ice doesn’t strike me as a good idea. Were they looking for a fight to spark a comeback? Maybe. However, they got more than they bargained for.
Wisniewski received a 12-game suspension for the elbow (four preseason games, plus eight regular-season games). While Scott has not been suspended by the NHL (Wisniewski was a repeat offender, having been suspended eight games in 2010 for a headshot on Brent Seabrook), intent to injure will undoubtedly be a factor in the decision. While a million games might be a stretch, Scott will be watching from the press box for a long time.
UPDATE: Per TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Scott has already been told he has an in-person hearing.