There will be plenty written about John Scott these days. From his eight second first period the other night to why the hell is he even on the
ice any more arguments. I figured I would sit down at the keyboard this morning and pen a few thoughts to clarify some things as the pro and anti John Scott arguments seem to be flaring up all over the place.
First off, John Scott is not a Neanderthal. He is actually very intelligent and holds a degree from Michigan Tech. So he is not some sort of antiquated goon on skates running around clubbing people with his stick and fists randomly because it’s the only thing he knows.
He does however play in an antiquated style that despite push back from the old guard – is a style of play that is approaching extinction in the National Hockey League. Sure there are plenty of fans longing for the days of “old-time hockey” and “they know the risks of their trade” – well as my friend Rich pointed out – advancements in science and medicine have proven that repeated hits to the head have long-term negative effects on people.
But anyways – back to my point. I watched a gif of the hit from last nights game over and over – and I have a couple of points I would like to make on it. You can see the gif yourself here.
1. It wasn’t an elbow. Stop calling it that. I blame this on the media and the hatred for players like John Scott in the league. I am a big proponent of taking out hits to the head as well, but this was not an elbow. John Scott’s principal point of contact with Loui Eriksson‘s head was his shoulder.
2. I am not one to be a fan of the officiating ever, but more so this year, but John Scott was whistled initially for a “charging” call at 5:49. Te Sabres website has that listed against McQuaid, but regardless, there was no “charging” as defined by the NHL rule book. Charging is defined as requiring a great distance travelled in order to level the hit. I may be wrong on this one since Scott was skating along the red line while Eriksson was advancing the play.
3. Eriksson didn’t see Scott coming. He had his head down – and he was admiring his pass just a little bit. He could have avoided the collision by having a little situational awareness.
Now before you jump down my throat – I am not trying to blame Eriksson or alleviate any blame off of John Scott – but Eriksson could have avoided the hit or at least the trip to the hospital. Kevin Porter was also penalized in the game for hitting Terry Krug in the numbers with a cross check. Porter could – and should – have let up on that play, but Krug turned and saw Porter coming; and turned his back needlessly to the play to take the hit.
Regardless of the situation, Scott deserves to be suspended – and why – well that gets back to the title of my article – The John Scott Theorem.
For anyone who thinks that John Scott did nothing wrong and that it was a clean hit, I offer you to put the skate on the other foot. John Scott is 6’8″ – Eriksson stands much shorter at 6’2″. Naturally, given the fact that there is a six-inch difference, the should have John Scott would naturally come into contact with Eriksson’s head. Say it was Milan Lucic (bad example from the Miller incident, but here me out) who stands at 6’4″ hitting Tyler Ennis in the exact same manner? Everyone in Buffalo would be calling for his head just as they did in 2011.
Claude Julien was very upset with the Buffalo Sabres bench, and glared down Ron Rolston immediately after the event. Would he have responded differently? When Lucic hit Miller – Julien was calm cool and collective – and pointed out the difference between a collision and a hit, and that if Lucic wanted to hit Miller – he would have never got up.
With Scott coasting – you could almost call that collision last night couldn’t you? And just because a goalie is out of the crease does not make him fair game – and Lucic made no attempt at “avoiding” a collision with Miller.
Every city is going to handle incidents different, and there will always be a difference of opinion. There were some that thought that Lucic was given his just deserts with a two-minute penalty for hitting Ryan Miller.
Eriksson remained in Buffalo overnight for observation, and John Scott will face his disciple. I hope Loui is alright – and recovers quickly and its nothing serious, so he is back on the ice for the Bruins in short order. I hope John Scott is removed from the Buffalo Sabres lineup for some time. It will make watching them easier.
It may not have been pretty – but for fans of old school hockey – the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres rivalry is very much alive.