Phil Kessel has a record now, and while noted pugilist John Scott is fine with that, he doesn’t necessarily hold anything against the Maple Leafs forward, either.
Kessel was suspended three games Tuesday for his role in an on-ice altercation Sunday night between the Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. Kessel and Scott did some pushing and shoving before Scott dropped his gloves and went after the much smaller Kessel. The Toronto forward’s natural instinct was to whack at Scott’s legs with his stick and then get one more chop in once Scott was being tackled by Kessel’s Toronto teammate.
The three-game ban that was handed down to Kessel will ensure that he misses the rest of the preseason, but it won’t cost one of the club’s most important players any time in the regular season. That’s fine by Scott, who sounds ready to get on with life more than anything else.
“I’m fine with it,” he said when asked about the suspension, according to the Buffalo News. “It’s one of those things he’s just protecting himself. I want to move on from it.”
Scott was a little more perplexed that Sabres head coach Ron Rolston was fined following the ordeal, but the Buffalo enforcer said he understands what Kessel was trying to do.
“If I was in his position, and I saw someone coming after me, I would have been a little bit hesitant too, to drop the gloves,” Scott said. “It is what it s. I didn’t want to see anyone get suspended in the first place, but I’m OK with it. … He was obviously upset at what I did, but don’t know if I would have done that. But he was upset, he got a suspension and that’s all there is.”
It’s probably worth noting that Kessel, owner of zero NHL fighting majors prior to Sunday night, was giving up 8 inches and 52 pounds to Scott in the skirmish.