Dear Buffalo Sabres: Cut The Crap

Hey!  Buffalo Sabres!

Come on.

Surely, you cannot be pleased with last night’s preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres players on the ice during a fight in the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Forget the fact that you lost the game 5-3; obviously, winning that game was the last thing on your minds.  (You guys DO remember that you’re a hockey team, not a professional wrestling troupe, right?)

Forget about the fact that you have young men who are fighting to obtain a roster spot on your team, and that you just put a big crosshair on their back.  (I know – you think you’re sending the message that the Sabres protect their own, that you won’t be messed with.  How quaint!)

Forget about everything, except this: last night, you became the sort of team that we Sabres fans have been complaining about all these years.

Congratulations – you’re the new bullies on the block.

Don’t delude yourselves; don’t try to argue, “No, no – you’ve got it all wrong.”  Right out of the gate this preseason, you allowed Patrick Kaleta to spend a preseason game doing his best bowling ball impersonation, crashing into some of the young Montreal Canadiens prospects.  Of course, when your prospects get hit hard, you rush to protect them – but clearly, it’s okay to target the OTHER team’s prospects, right?

You laid low and kept it clean for a few games, providing fans with some actual hockey to watch and enjoy – go figure – but then the Toronto Maple Leafs came to town on Saturday, and bad blood and old rivalries flared up.  That’s okay – hockey is a full-contact sport, and tempers are going to flare.  It wasn’t always pretty, but the shenanigans that broke out in that game did not detract from what was an exciting game of hockey that felt like more than “just a preseason game.”

And then . . . .

Sep 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) and defenseman T.J. Brennan (25) and forward David Clarkson (71) and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Chad Ruhwedel (5) fight during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Buffalo 5-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Look: if Corey Tropp wants to pick a fight with a member of the Leafs to avenge the hit on Marcus Foligno, that’s his prerogative.  And if he just so happens to pick a fight with 6’5″ Jamie Devane, more power to him!  I don’t want to see Tropp get hurt like he did – no one does – but it’s not like he was hit with a cheap shot and left in a pool of blood.  He instigated a fight and the result wasn’t in his favor.  That’s where it should have ended, but clearly it didn’t, and now here we are.

Is this the direction the franchise is headed with Ron Rolston at the helm?  Player picks a fight and loses, so now the Sabres send big John Scott out on the ice and to harass a scorer like Phil Kessel?  Are you kidding me?  And don’t try and use Kessel’s idiocy to justify Scott’s bullying tactics.   I’m not defending what Kessel did with his stick – the NHL will suspend him, and he will deserve every game he sits – but Scott has no reason to be going after Kessel.   What kind of punk move is that?    The game could have settled down and moved on; instead, you ratcheted up the tension and created a situation that spiraled way, way out of control.    What – it wasn’t enough that Tropp got injured?  You wanted to put more Sabres players at risk?

Ever since Milan Lucic steamrolled Ryan Miller, you’ve been a team with a inferiority complex.  Seems like you’re more worried about being “tough” than you are with “winning games.”  Wrong move, guys.  I want you to play hard, be mentally tough, and defend your teammates as much as the next guy – but last night, you went too far.   Worse yet, you’ve gone and put a huge target on your chest, not just for the next time you play the Leafs, but for any other team that would prefer to sucker you into a brawl-fest than an actual hockey game.

Turn the page.  This isn’t who you are.  You have chance to develop some really promising, young talent.  You could be known for winning again.  Isn’t that enough?

Agree?  Disagree?  Both?  Neither?  Leave comments below, or @theamazingMrS!  Keep it civil – we ain’t throwing no brawls around here!

Topics: Buffalo Sabres, Preseason

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  • Boush

    Well said. This was on Rolston for sending Scott out. What Kessel did wasn’t clean by any stretch, but the situation was handled as poorly as it could have been.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Kessel HAS to be suspended – if not, the NHL is an absolute laughingstock. But I’ve got to say, if I’m Kessel, and John Scott is coming at me – well, that’s not a fair fight. I’d panic, too! I don’t know what the Sabres were hoping to accomplish – what a damn shame.

      • lamarred1118

        Let’s see what they do to Kassian and compare what happens to last night’s participants, if Kassian gets two games then Kessel better get more, although I think he will get a slap on the wrist. I’d like to see Brennan end up with something for the boarding on Foligno.

      • qwicwted

        Rich – Scott was on the ice before Carlyle sent out Kessel. Yes, Scott was chirping at Kessel, but was ready to take the faceoff – Kessel touched Scott first and backed away using his stick as a weapon. There was a clear intent as Kessel came back at Scott swinging the stick and then trying to spear Scott while he was tiedup with another player. Kessel should have just played the faceff and as a leader, I expected that. Used to respect him, but his CS move really turned around my view of him – nothing but a talented punk.
        I’ll also be interested to see what Kassian’s suspension for accidental reckless use of his stick versus Kessel’s intentional use of his stick as a weapon. Also wonder if the City of Toronto is going to charge Kessel with Assault, like they did to Dave “Tiger” Williams.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          That’s because Scott told Kessel he was coming after him. If you want me to believe Scott wasn’t sent out there to instigate, I’m not buying it.

          • qwicwted

            Rich, Kessel had a choice – he knew Scott wouldn’t come after him and what was with the push -instigation. Come on – Kessel was CS about the whole thing – sadly he’s the one who kept going after Scott – swinging his stick and spearing. Let’s see what Shanahan does on this one.

          • Timothy Redinger

            Kessel made the first move on Scott. Scott’s a goon but I doubt the situation would have escalated that way if Scott had moved first. Kessel was voted by the players as the easiest intimidated in the NHL – all Scott has to do is look at the guy and he would get jumpy.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            If by “first move,” you mean Kessel tried to get distance, sure! When I think of “made the move,” I’m asking myself, who picked the fight? Scott even said in an interview yesterday, “And whoever they lined up with me, whether it’s Kessel or [Colton] Orr or whoever else they have in their lineup, I was going to fight them.” All the Sabres fans who told me Scott wasn’t out there to fight – lmao.

          • qwicwted

            Rich – What bothers me is that Kessel kept coming back at Scott using his stick either to chop or spear. Kessel even came back after taking on a smaller player. I find it interesting that over the past few years TO fans have been on Kessel’s back – he’s a very talented player, but I think part of a rap on him was his grit/toughness was questioned. Makes me wonder if he thought it was a good time to make a statement.
            Either way – the video shows that Kessel kept coming back.

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Yeah, Kessel kept coming back, and I feel the NHL is going to be way too lenient with this jerk, Having said that: John Scott came right out and said in an interview that he was going to fight someone, no matter who they gave him. Why? Tropp picked the fight and lost – nothing to fight about, by that point. I have zero problems with Tropp trying to stick up for Foligno, but why are the Sabres STILL looking to fight afterward? Devane just gave Tropp the fight he wanted; nothing more, nothing dirty. John Scott looking for a fight afterwards is ridiculous, no matter how Kessel ultimately responded.

          • Joe

            If you had a clue you would have seen earlier when scott challenged Devane and he shook his head and skated to the bench. Devane was looking for a fight all night. He was trying to make a name for himself as a tough guy. But instead of going with Scott he chose to punk out and go with Tropp.

          • Joe

            He wasn’t put out their to fight by the coaching staff. IT was HIS regular shift. He only played a few seconds before the whistle so he was left out on the ice you idiot

        • Joseph Williams

          I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw what really happened out there

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Good lord, Joseph, you’re not the only one who can watch video. I haven’t stuck up for Kessel at any point today.

      • Jes

        It doesn’t matter if it is a fair fight all players have the option to walkaway. Carlyle shouldn’t have sent out Kessel to play against Scott.

        I for one am happy Scott and the rest of the team did what they did. Kessel is the one who laid his hands on Scott first and then to follow that up Clarkson jumps the bench and attacks Scott while Kessel hacks away at Scott. Not cool, what else would you expect in that situation but cure chaos?

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Come on – that’s bull. Kessel tried to skate away – Scott made it clear he was going to fight, no matter what. What was there left to avenge? Devane did nothing wrong; Tropp picked the fight. Sorry, the Sabres pushed it too far.

          • Joe

            clueless

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            You’re right again – I have no idea what I’m talking about. That would explain why pretty much every major news source agreed that it was the Sabres who deserve most of the blame for this fight. Next time, join the discussion when it is current.

  • lamarred1118

    The whole stupid ugliness could have been prevented if the zebras had mentioned a word of caution to the benches before the game or even if Brennan had gotten called for the boarding on Foligno. Given the extracurricular activity the previous night. BTW Rolston is beginning to look more like Lindy than I ever imagined!

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Ha ha! These sorts of incidents are the reason why fighting is going to get banned. if fisticuffs was limited to two guys who had a reason to go taking care of business, things would be okay. But this brawl could have been prevented, by each side, you’re correct, and now the NHL has to sit back and say, WTF?

      • lamarred1118

        I’m no fan of what happened last night, but if you think the NHL will ever ban fighting altogether then you’re crazy! The good old boy club will never buckle under willingly.
        My biggest concern is for Foligno and Tropp. Sabres can’t afford to lose Foligno for any portion of the season and Tropp’s season might be down the drain, painfully.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Clearly, the players are going to fight – ha ha! – to keep fighting. The NHL has already started to sneak some rules in, though, such as the helmet rule (players who take their helmets off prior to a fight will now get 7 minutes, instead of 5). Can they get rid of fighting altogether? No, but they are clearly working to make it as infrequent as they can, and a brawl like this one doesn’t help the cause.

          • Kevin

            exactly, and it also gave the anti fighters of the league even more fuel towards their cause to ban fighting.

          • Joe

            you are a clueless a hole

          • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

            Joe, did you just join Disqus to antagonize me? Grow up and have a conversation that doesn’t involve insults. You don’t know me personally, so keep your anger out of here.

  • acpilkin

    Please don’t forget that Kessel came off the bench when Scott was already on the ice. Leafs had last change if I’m not mistaken.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Clearly, the Leafs hoped that putting some scorers out there would keep things from getting ugly. Was that wise? No – but I’m not going to fault a coach for trying to keep a fight from breaking out. Rolston had no business sending Scott out there – Tropp started the fight and lost, so what the hell were the Sabres angry about? Tropp tried to “avenge” the hit on Foligno – it should have ended there.

      • Joe

        Richard,
        Are you kidding me? If they wanted to cool things down they would not have put out Kessel. Kessel has a history of being a chippy player and swinging his stick.

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  • AdReyns

    Scott was on the ice when the Tropp/Devane fight happened – he wasn’t sent out after the fact in an orchestrated move. Carlyle had last change. Had the Sabres taken Scott off and the Leafs put out their tough guys, you’d probably be critiquing Rolston for not being proactive enough.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Right. Scott wasn’t sent out to do anything.He didn’t threaten to come after Kessel. Sure. You actually believe that? There was nothing to be proactive about – Tropp picked a fight and lost. The Sabres should have moved on.

      • Joe

        You clearly did watch the game and if you did you clearly don’t know hockey.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          You’ve got me figured out, then.

  • JerrySabresFan

    Really? Your argument about Kessel being targeted probably isn’t true. Whether Scott was out on the ice to stir trouble or prevent it – who knows. But from what I saw Kessel started the brawl not Scott. He clearly reaches out towards Scott and thats when the gloves came off. Kessel lined up across from him and wanted to poke the bear. And then poke again several times later. Let’s not forget the baseball bat swings to the ankles and knees. Either way, I don’t think either team is too proud about all this at the moment.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Kessel was wrong, wrong, wrong. However, I have a real tough time believing Kessel just decided to fight John Scott. You can believe what you want; I think the Sabres lost a lot of respect last night (Leafs too – I’m not giving them a free pass.-

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Kessel was wrong, wrong, wrong, and both teams lost respect last night. Still, there’s not much doubt in my mind that Scott was out there to cause trouble. I’m really sure Kessel wanted to tussle with John Scott. :D

    • Joe

      Scott told Kessel what was going to happen when the puck dropped. Kessel then went off the wall before the puck drop. You are partially correct.

  • Joseph Williams

    What I saw last night was the Leafs acting like jerks, as usual, then playing the victim, as usual. They deserve to be harassed by Kaleta, Scott, whoever.

  • Joseph Williams

    I love it when the Leafs start the trouble, then act like victims when the Sabres retaliate. And I just LOVE it when the media blatantly lies about what actually happened when I saw it with my own two eyes.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Joseph, fans are biased toward their teams. What you watched, you saw through the eyes of a Sabres fan. Leafs fans will see it differently. I’m trying to see it from both sides. Both sides were wrong, but this game could have continued without the brawl. Are you denying the Sabres had anything to do with escalating this to the point that it got out of control?

      • Joseph Williams

        Yea, Leafs fans will lie to themselves then believe their own lies

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          ? So Leafs fans are what – evil? Inhuman? It’s just sports, man! And my niece is a Leas fan, and doesn’t lie. Fans see what they want to see, and usually both sides are right about some things, wrong about others.

      • Joe

        I am so surprised you don’t have any comments about the leafs fans who cheered and continued cheering when Tropp went down and didn’t get up. Richard you are so clueless.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Way to jump back in on a thread that has been dead for a few days just to take two more shots at me! So Buffalo fans don’t cheer the end result of a fight? Who is really acting clueless here? Just because Toronto fans cheered like idiots doesn’t mean you keep fighting the other team. I don’t write for a Leafs blog, so what their fans do doesn’t really affect me, and believe me, any arena would have cheered after a fight. Toronto fans didn’t know he was hurt initially, so relax.

          • Joe

            Yes, fans cheer for fights, but when someone gets hurt there is quiet and concern. They then cheer when he get up. The fans didn’t quiet and clearly enjoyed Tropp bleeding from his head all over the ice.

    • Guest

      Guess your eyes are pretty bad then!

  • Benjamin M Taylor

    The way I saw it was that DeVane smashed Tropp’s head into the ice when they were falling down. This may have been the reason for the concussion, not the punches delivered, and I think that’s why the Sabres reacted the way they did. If Miller is fighting, you know there was some dirt going on. As a Sabres fan, I was sad to see us get pushed around in games. Hockey is most often a game of territory. The team with the greatest amount of time in the offensive zone wins. I think we are looking forward to a bright future by drafting players with size, skill and grit to make that happen. Scott, as a veteran, was sending a message to the Leafs and the rest of the NHL: its a new era in Buffalo. I am glad to see that we’ll no longer lose games as a result of lack of passion and grit to win battles and keep the puck where it needs to be for us to win games. Give it some time, you’ll see the psychological results of heart, grit and loyalty to teammates– something we haven’t had for a few years. Even if the team doesn’t win, it’s nice to see them stick together and fight through adversity. I believe this is a cornerstone of a championship team. Despite the fact that it can get ugly.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Thanks for the read! Look – I’m glad they are sticking up for each other. But there’s a difference between protecting your players and causing dangerous situations. I don’t think Devane tried to drive Tropp’s head into the ice – I’ve watched the video enough that I think he simply fell and landed on Tropp in a way that intensified the impact. Even so – if the Sabres were protecting Tropp, why the hell is Scott going after Kessel? Again – I watched the video. Kessel did NOT do enough to justify Scott coming after him. Scott could have picked a fight with Devane if he really thought Devane did something wrong. There’s a difference between toughness and “thug”-ness.

      • qwicwted

        Rich – Carlyle had the last line changes (didn’t they play in Toronto?). Scott was on the ice already and they knew he would be chirping – Carlyle thought he’d be smart and he got burned. KIessel was the instigator by putting his hand on Scott – then instead of fighting with his fists – Kessel decided to swing his stick and run away only to keep coming back swinging his stick and even spearing. In this case – I think Kessel was the Thug or maybe I should say punk.
        Just an FYI – I don’t think Devane caused Tropp’s head hit the ice – its unfortunate, but Tropp landed in such a way that the back of his head hit the ice. And, when something like that happens, you still send your 4th “enforcer, gritty” guys out on the ice. Carlyle thought he would pad his lead – big mistake.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          You know I appreciate your opinions, because you’re hockey savvy! If I had my way, Kessel would get suspended longer than Clarkson did (I understand the rule, but Kessel was using his stick as a weapon, which is actually against the law!). I’ve seen the video a bunch of times though, and Kessel and Scott are side-by-side for about two seconds before the “fight” broke out. If John Scott told me he was coming after me, you’d better believe that I would shove him to try and get space between myself and him. Kessel could have refused to fight – seriously? That wasn’t going to happen; Scott would have just pounded him senseless. The Sabres should have used Scott to make up for the hit on Foligno; after that, get him off the ice.

          • qwicwted

            Rich – it takes 2 to fight – if Kessel decided to turtle – Scott would have had no one to fight. Kessel had no problem skating off and finding a smaller player to take on once Scott was tied up with two other TO players . Then he came back – chopping away and then came back a 3rd time using his stick to poke or spear Scott. Thing is Rich – part of Scott’s act is the fact that he is so big – it makes other teams think twice about running players. There are times when Scott’s presence on the ice is enough.

    • Timothy Redinger

      Miller didn’t want to fight – you could see that in his stance as Bernier came up to him. Bernier himself said Miller didn’t really want to go, but Bernier made the decision to fight anyway.

  • davidmuscalo

    Sorry, but I can’t agree with you on this one, because you are blaming the wrong people. It is Shannahan and his motley crew who have caused this type of cheap-shot hockey with their biased opinions and decisions. You cannot display favoritism at the highest levels in the league and expect to get respect and compliance from the teams that are damaged by your prejudicial conduct.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      I’ve already written about how big a joke I think the NHL and Shanahan are. They could easily get rid of cheap shot and nonsense that will hurt players – and they don’t. I agree with you all the way. I’m not mad that Tropp did what he did to avenge what happened to Foligno – but that’s where it should end. He picked the wrong guy to fight – his fault. To have John Scott out there, yapping at the Leafs bench and then picking a fight with Kessel – what did the Sabres think was going to happen? Just because the league is a joke doesn’t mean the Sabres need to become a bunch of thugs, putting their own guys in harm’s way. Tropp’s fight was a clean one, so as scary as the end result was, it didn’t warrant a brawl.

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  • Jes

    Honestly guys even Ott said this what the sport is about. This is hockey. And to get rid of this would be dumb IMO. Might as well put those stop signs on the backs of every player and have a guaranteed 5 game suspension for anyone who fights.

  • Joe

    Clearly this dude doesn’t know hockey or what happened. John Scott was on the ice already, it was he shift, he never left the ice. Kessel was sent on the ice to line up next to Scott. Devane has near no chance of getting a regular roster spot this year and he was clearly gunning to get into a fight, in fact earlier in the game Scott challenged him to a fight to settle him down and Devane skated to the bench, yet on later shifts continued to try and pick fights. Tropp got sick of Devane’s BS and stood up to him. This idiot actually thinks that the 3 preseason game suspension is a punishment. Are you kidding me, this is a reward for Kessel, no seasoned vet wants to play preseason games and take the chance of getting hurt. If it was Kaleta who went Luke Skywalker on anther player he’d have 15 games at least. Punk move! You Idiot! Scott clearly told Kessel what was going to happen before the puck drop. Kessel could have lined up with some space between Scott, then turtled and he wouldn’t have even been hit and it would have been over. The punk move was on Kessel right from the get go. Yes, the goalie went too far so this idiot did have one point that was on key but the whole fight is on Carlyle and not any of the Sabres or their coaching staff. Carlyle already know Scott was on the ice yet he put out a player who is know for his chippy play and stick work to line up next to Scott. He very easily could have put out Clarkson and it would have been a one on one and it would have been over.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Wow – you enter a thread that is over a week old and insult me well after the conversation has ended. We like our conversations here to be civil – disagree, but refrain from name calling or I will have your Disqus account blocked from here.