Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller (30) and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) fight during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres Sending Early Message

So last night I went to watch a fight and a hockey game broke out- lame joke I know sorry I had to. But perhaps it was fitting what took place between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs after the UFC fight at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, the player’s were just paying tribute to MMA. I had the great pleasure of being in attendance during last night’s Sabres/Leafs fight.  Ok yes there was a hockey game mixed in there, too, but no one really remembers that.

In the words of Ryan Miller


Whenever the Sabres take on the Leafs the games almost never disappoint. Between Saturday night’s 15 round shootout and last night’s line and goalie brawl it was an exciting weekend of hockey. Whether it’s been Patrick Kaleta, Steve Ott or John Scott the Sabres are sending a message early. If you’re looking for a fight the Buffalo Sabres will be happy to oblige.

Two years removed from the Milan Lucic/ Ryan Miller incident, the Sabres are finally proving that you don’t mess with the boys in blue and gold and get away with it. Last night’s affair was the perfect example of how the new look Buffalo Sabres won’t be taking any crap this season.

Let me break down what happened last night for y’all just in case you missed anything.

On the Sabres third goal- scored by Jamie McBain- Marcus Foligno was hit awkwardly into the boards and appeared to injure his shoulder. As McBain and other teammates celebrated, Cody Hodgson skated over to make sure his new linemate was okay as Foligno skated off the ice holding his shoulder. Now a scary moment. Corey Tropp likely upset over the Foligno injury or just wanting to spark his team, challenging Jamie Devane to a fight. Tropp was upset and came out slinging but was out of his league and Devane easily threw him to the ice, only problem is Tropp’s head smacked against the ice and he was knocked out. His head hit the ice so hard his upper body bounced back up the linesman caught him and held him immediately calling for the trainer. Tropp laid in the ice for a few moments with blood leaking from his head and needed the help of his teammates to get off the ice. For a few moments the entire ACC was silent, the woman sitting beside me couldn’t bear to watch as Tropp left a nice puddle of blood behind.

For whatever dumb reason, Randy Carlyle decided to put Phil Kessel on the ice for the next shift and John Scott immediately went

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Linesman Derek Nansen (70) tries to break up a fight between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Linesman Derek Nansen (70) tries to break up a fight between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

and started talking smack with the Leafs sniper. From that moment you could just sense there was trouble brewing. As soon as the puck was dropped, Scott dropped his mitts and made a bee line for Kessel who decided he would do his best Canadian lumberjack impression and take a whack at Scott as other Leafs rushed to tackle the Sabres giant. As Scott was tangled with two other Leafs’ Kessel decided to take another whack at the big man and that when everything broke out. Everyone on the ice grabbed a partner and started throwing punches, even Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier challenged Ryan Miller to a fight and the Sabres goaltender willingly obliged despite getting beaten. Despite the beating Miller took, he held his ground, stood up for his teammates and didn’t turn down a fight- I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud of the Sabres netminder. The entire ACC was on their feet and screaming during the fight and it may have been the most amazing hockey game I’ve ever witnessed.

Now a lot of people are saying it was cowardly or weak for Scott to go after Kessel, but I’m giving him a stick tap for doing so. The Sabres were being run out of the arena, the Leafs decided they were going to add to their misery by throwing cheap shots and Tropp had just been knocked out cold in a pool of blood. So what does Carlyle do? He sends out Kessel’s line against the Scott line, which is ridiculous since the Leafs had the last change. The Sabres had to do something to make a statement, and Scott didn’t care who he had to do it with so kudos to him for not backing down.

Yes the goal is to win hockey games, but since the Sabres may not be doing much of that this season and they’ll be one of the youngest teams in the league it’s important they don’t get bullied on the ice. The Sabres are going to have lots of rookies playing throughout this season and making sure they don’t get hurt, aren’t afraid and are able to play their game is key if the Sabres want to go through a successful rebuild.

The Sabres are showing early on that they won’t be shoved around this season, even if it takes a line brawl including two netminders to do so. Man I can’t wait for the first Leafs and Sabres game that actually matter during the regular season. Do you like the message the Sabres are sending early on?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Fights Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Klem Boddart

    Wow, I’m ashamed to call myself a Sabres fan with people like you writing articles for us. You give a Stick Tap to Scott, you should instead give your head a shake. Scott Picked a fight with a scorer, not a fighter. IT was a gutless move, on his part. Tropp asked for the fight and lost. While scary and unfortunate, we had two fighters in Tropp and Devan go at it, Tropp asked for the fight, and was fully aware of the consequences as all fighters are in these situations. For Scott to go in a picka fight with a non-fighter is gutless and cowardly. Sure Carlyle is a dope for putting non-fighters on the ice, but I assume he was trying to diffuse the situation, and our dope fighter Scott decided to take it as sign to bully another player. Pretty classless. You really need to take the fann glasses off and stop justifying each bonehead move and really look at the scary situation that unfolded there. Would you have been happy if our guy took out the best player on the other team? would you be happy if Kessel’s head was bleeding? You sicken me.

    • Timothy Redinger

      I have to agree as well – this was the same kind of conduct that we bitch about when our guys get jumped by thugs.
      If the Buffalo Sabres need a player like John Scott on their team – it means they are still to weak to play in the NHL. There are good players out there that can stand up for themselves, and play the game.
      Sure – it may have been exciting to watch because everyone loves a good fight – but if a guy (Kessel) has to resort to swinging his stick at a guy (Scott) because it is his only defense – that’s not hockey.

      • Me Ted

        Leaf fan here. Scott’s actions were reprehensible and cowardly especially since we didn’t have Orr, McLaren or even Fraser in the lineup. Our next meeting in November should be interesting with that mix in the lineup.

        Having said that, I don’t give a damn if you’re 5’6″ and you’re being jumped by Godzilla; you don’t swing your stick like that. Period. As much as I love Kessel, that was ridiculous and he deserves whatever suspension he gets.

        As for Clarkson coming off the bench, I understand why he did it and he sure did send message to his teammates, but man…the ten games just isn’t worth it. Too bad Rolston isn’t going to be suspended.

        Anyway; the Sabres look good this year. Good luck.

        • Timothy Redinger

          I agree with you on everything except Rolston being suspended – Leafs had last change – if you knew the situation was hot why would you put Kessel out there and have him lineup against Scott? Not saying that made Scott’s actions any better, but Carlyle should have known better.
          I don’t think Scott has a place in the league. I agree with Clarkson coming off the bench, but he should have been out there to begin with – like another commentor noted, you don’t diffuse a situation that way in hockey.

          • Me Ted

            You’re right about the Leaf’s lineup out there to end the game. Carlyle should have taken Kessel off immediately. I understand that he wanted nothing to do with what was innevitably going to transpire but he should have made the move regardless.

            At the end of the day though Rolston did send out Scott with some very specific orders. If we was trying to send a message he did it at the wrong time.

          • james1968

            Did no one notice it was Kessel that reached for Scott first, then Scott went after him?

          • Me Ted

            “I said, ‘Phil I think we’re going to have to go here, just to let you
            know,’ ” Scott said.

            I think Kessel was reacting as quickly as he could. Perhaps getting a jump. But once Scott got him, it didn’t really matter. When a tsunami approaches a small fishing boat…well you get it.

          • Tim Bayer

            I don’t understand how Carlyle gets blamed for this. He had last change and put his best player on the ice against arguably the worst player in the league. Talk about a great matchup for the Leafs offensively. There’s no way he should hold any blame for Scott acting like a maniac.

          • Me Ted

            I’m a Leafs’ fan and I even I know that you don’t put your best guy out there when you’ve got a super heavyweight right beside him. At least be rational about this.

        • Tim Bayer

          What else was Kessel supposed to do in that situation? At that point, instincts kick in and you’re going to defend yourself however possible. The third slash and the little poke minutes later after the fights had died down were probably a bit much, but I don’t blame Kessel at all for reacting like that to a 6-foot-8 behemoth grabbing him.

          • Me Ted

            Hold on and wait for the cavalry (which arrived instantly I might add). You don’t Dino Ciccarelli the guy even if it was at his feet.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      Well I’m sorry you feel that way. Do I agree with everything that went on last night… like Scott going after Kessel not entirely but this situation is on Randy Carlyle for putting that line out there after Rolston threw Scott out there with direct orders.

      Scott was doing exactly what he was told to do… I imagine fans would be just as upset if he hadn’t hadn’t have done anything. I like the fact the Sabres were standing up for each other but the outcome got a little out of hand. And no I don’t like to see any player bleeding or unconcious on the ice.

      • Tim Bayer

        “…this situation is on Randy Carlyle for putting that line out there after Rolston threw Scott out there with direct orders.”

        Sorry, but what? How was Carlyle supposed to know Scott was going to go apeshit on the next shift? And why doesn’t Rolston receive any heat for, as you said, throwing Scott out there with “direct orders” to jump the Leafs’ best player? By the way, that part is totally speculation on your part, but if true, Rolston deserves way more heat than Carlyle.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Come on the Leafs had last change, he should have known better than to put Kessel’s line out there with Scott after a heated fight and the way the game was going at the time. Yes Rolston deserves some heat for how he handled the situation because he DID give direct orders to Scott. I was at the game and while the network cut to comercial and you may have missed was Rolston leaning over and talking to Scott…

          • Tim Bayer

            I’m sorry, I just can’t come to the conclusion that Carlyle deserves any blame for putting his best player on the ice. If you are correct about Rolston giving Scott orders to jump Kessel, then he’s just as bad as Scott in my view. And what exactly about the Tropp-Devane fight gave the Sabres need to retaliate? Tropp engaged Devane, fought and lost his balance and hit his head. The fact people somehow see that as a reason for the Sabres to retaliate against the Leafs is exactly what’s wrong with hockey.

          • Timothy Redinger

            That logic would have worked if Kessel used his ability as the Leaf’s best player on the ice. Instead, he took the bait that was laid out for him and he made the first move against Scott. Carlyle should have known something was going to happen – which I will agree with you, especially during the pre season was neither the time nor the place. Carlyle was just as wrong for putting Kessel against Scott as Rolston was for sending Scott out there. Rolston is a coach with zero experience. I don’t think Rolston was sending Scott out to defend Tropp – but to further put the point out there that you aren’t going to get away with running Foligno. Carlyle has much more experience than Rolston and should have known better. Now he stands to lose his “best” player to a major suspension because Scott acted like Scott – and Kessel acted like a lunatic.

        • Timothy Redinger

          Scott didn’t go “apeshit” until Kessel reacted and started with Scott first – and then it was Kessel who went apeshit wielding his stick as a weapon. Again – Scott acted like Scott, and Kessel acted like a lunatic.

    • Kevin Canessa Jr.

      So you think it was justified for Kessel to swing his stick as if he were shooting golf balls on a driving range? Anywhere else but on ice, he’d be locked up on assault charges. And really — if this writer “sickens you,” it might be best to get to the doctor. Because it clearly doesn’t take all that much to get you ill.

    • Dano Jaye

      Loosen your tie, roll up your sleeves, ditch the pocket protector/protractors and get some dirt under your nails.

      YOU are the problem with the Buffalo Fan Base.

      If you are ‘ so ashamed ‘ maybe a ‘ time out ‘ should be in order?

      The Author of the Article was *at the game* and explained what happened. Did she condone what happened? Did she say it was a bad or good thing? Can you point out to where she did this?

      The only ‘ shame ‘ you should feel is your inferiority and the need to look down upon others, especially the articles author.

      To the author : Thanks for the article. Its good to get a perspective from someone whom was there, as a fan, then an ‘Armchair General’, whos so ashamed.

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  • acpilkin

    Fighting does not consist of body soaked. Nor does hockey consist of cheap shots after goals or swinging your stick and spearing in self defense.

    I like the response and its the Leafs fault for putting those players on the ice. They knew full well who was out there for Buffalo and the situation. You don’t “diffuse situations” in hockey. If you think that’s the case, you’ve never watched a game.

    Also, you sicken me with these vast assumptions. Do you care at all about how Tropp got hurt? Or the lack of cause for Foligno getting hurt? Its not like Scott would have started pounding on Kessel. He is not a dirty fighter. Never has been. But while you’re on the topic of hurting someone, why not mention the gigantic lumberjack swings from Kessel? Or his dirt cheap spear when Scott was finished with his fight with someone else and the linesmen had broken it up? Or the Leafs having 7 players on the ice because Colton Orr came off the bench?

    Nice try.

    • Klem Boddart

      Who was body slammed? I must have missed that. if you think that Tropp was body slammed he was punched in a fight that he instigated. I have been a Sabres fan for years, but this was a disgrace. I feel ad for the guy, and my stomach dropped when I saw him go down, but he wasn’t body slammed. nice try. watch it again. he actually fell backwards while pulling the other guy’s Jersey.

      How do you know that Scott wouldn’t have pounded on Kessel. Each time I have seen Scott fight, it’s with fists and pounding. He wasn’t going to give Kessel a back massage.

      Sorry to sicken you with my assumptions, I am sure that your assumption that Scott wasn’t going to beat Kessel isn’t as vast an assumption. Foligno got hurt on a play, and Tropp tried to avenge it and lost. I’m not condoning Kessel. HE better get suspended. HE shouldn’t have gone after Scott with his stick. Heck, suspend him for trying to spear Scott. there’s no place for stickwork like that in the game, just as there is no place for a 6’7 guy picking on a goal scorer in the game. If it wee reversed, and Devan had gone after Hodgson I’m sure we would be just as upset.

      PS> not sure what game you were watching but Orr wasn’t on the ice.

      • acpilkin

        I meant the body slam part as a general statement, not of the fight.

        I also meant Clarkson, not Orr. He was on my mind because I was reading articles about what would have happened had he been on the ice. If he was there, the entire situation may have played out differently, who knows.

    • Me Ted

      I agree that Kessel’s swinging of the stick was borderline criminal but did you even watch the game? Orr off the bench?

    • Caitlin Campbell

      are you speaking to me? I mentioned how both Tropp and Foligno got hurt…

  • Joseph Williams

    Yes! Someone else saw what ACTUALLY happened! The Toronto hockey media is blaming it all on the Sabres. Check the latest at the Star, Sun, etc. They’ll never admit the truth- the Sabres were just reacting to an assault on them. P.S. Carlyle didn’t have to line Kessel up with Scott, he could’ve put Devane out there. He baited the brawl, in my opinion.