When 2 points are on the line, those games tend to get a little more out of hand than preseason games. This was certainly not the case during a friendly match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night.
After a huge fight between Toronto’s Jamie Devane and Buffalo’s Corey Tropp, in which Devane obliterated Tropp and left the Sabres forward battered and bloody, Buffalo had there eyes set on vengeance, so it would seem.
With 6 foot 8 enforcer John Scott on the ice during the ensuing shift, Toronto countered with skill players including the likes of Phil Kessel. Scott and Kessel exchanged some words on the ice and Scott immediately dropped his gloves as he wanted a piece of Kessel. This is where the good stuff happens.
It is obvious that a fight between Scott and Kessel would be a HUGE mismatch, the 25-year old forward didn’t want to become the victim of Scott’s fists. So Kessel responded with a few two-handed chops at the monster approaching him. Kessel then explained the situation to James Mirtle after the game:
It was pretty stupid, right? He said he was going to jump me… He’s a big boy. If he’s coming after me, what are you gonna do?
Toronto’s new acquisition David Clarkson quickly jumped off the bench to come to Kessel’s aid, which as you all know, is a big no-no. Clarkson received a 10-minute penalty and is now facing a suspension of 10 regular-season games for leaving the bench to join the altercation. Keep in mind, this all happened in a PRESEASON game.
Everyone on the ice then began to square off. It was almost like a huge ‘Harlem Shake’ video. Kessel dropped the gloves with Sabres prospect Brian Flynn. Kessel, who received penalties for slashing and fighting, managed to bloody Flynn.
Then both goalies crashed the party. Maple Leafs netminder Jonathan Bernier made his way across the length of the ice to scrap with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. It was a pretty lengthy brawl between the two, with Bernier looking to have gotten the better of Miller. More than 100 penalty minutes came out of this “Anchorman” style melee.
Traditionalists will call the incident “Old Time Hockey,” in the end, it was just plain dumb. Scott had no business going after a star player in the preseason. It makes himself look trashy and unprofessional at the end of the day. Kessel’s stick whacks may go unnoticed by the league, but it appears that he may have speared Scott, which could draw the attention of NHL disciplinarians. If Clarkson was to the miss the first 10 games of the year, that will definitely put a damper on things for the Maple Leafs, especially when the games count.
The goalie fight was pretty pointless, but it sure gave the fans an adrenaline boost. Miller summed up the whole incident after the game, with a reference to the famous comedy movie Anchorman.
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller3039) September 23, 2013
Overall, it was a situation that could have easily been avoided. Instead, it turned into a preseason bloodbath. I get it, fighting is a part of the game that the fans thoroughly enjoy, but this isn’t even close to justifiable.
Here’s a video of the whole incident, enjoy: