Buffalo Sabres winger John Scott will have an in-person hearing with the NHL after an elbow to the head of Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson during Wednesday night’s game. This is the second time in a month that Scott’s actions have put him, his team and head coach Ron Rolston under fire as he was also suspended during the preseason after attacking Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel and setting off a line brawl. As fighting once again comes under fire league-wide, it is really incidents like this that deserve the league’s attention, as Scott’s recent play has no place in the game today. Scott brings no offensive value to his team, doesn’t dress against skilled teams and averages less than five minutes of playing time when he does dress. It’s pretty clear what his job in Buffalo is, and the league can be expected to set a firm example with this repeat offender.
In 187 games with the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and the Sabres, Scott has one goal and five points. He also has 324 career penalty minutes. This season he has dressed for only seven games and is a minus-3 with no points. At 6-8 and 259 pounds he’s one of the better known heavyweight fighters in the game, and his troubles this season have less to do with his “skill set” as a player than the players he is targeting. In the game against the Maple Leafs, he targeted a skilled forward in Kessel rather than a player with a reputation for fighting like David Clarkson. Against the Bruins he delivered a blow to the head of Eriksson, a player who was in a defenseless position and is five inches shorter than him.
Is there a place for a player like Scott in the game today? Absolutely. If Scott can learn from his mistakes like currently-suspended teammate Patrick Kaleta has vowed too, he can still serve a purpose for his team. If he continues to target players he has no business going after, he will quickly earn the reputation that Sean Avery and others had before him, and that could severely shorten his career.