Former NHL enforcer Rob Ray is not a fan of how Phil Kessel slashed John Scott during the much publicized line brawl between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres on the weekend.
“If I were John Scott, I’d go after Phil Kessel again without any warning for the way he hit him with his stick,” Ray told Sportsnet 960 The FAN Wednesday morning. “Jon Scott was already out there so it wasn’t a matter of him going over the boards. … He told Phil Kessel, ‘I’m coming after you. I’m not going to hurt you but I’m coming after you.’
“If Phil Kessel is too stupid not to get out of the way or run or take off and someone warned me … He stuck around and it escalated to what it was. … If he wasn’t smart enough to get out of there, then shame on him.”
Watch and listen to John Scott on Hockey Central at Noon Thursday on Sportsnet and Sportsnet 590 The FAN – Broadcast Schedule
Scott was given a total of 27 penalty minutes on the play, including two 10-minute misconducts, while Kessel got a 10-minute match penalty and was suspended for the remainder of the pre-season. Also, Leafs forward David Clarkson was automatically suspended 10 games for jumping off the bench, plus the Maple Leafs team and Sabres coach Ron Rolston were each fined $10,000.
“I still don’t understand why (Ron) Rolston was fined for doing something wrong. He didn’t,” Ray said. “Ron Rolston has all of a sudden become this villain in the media because he put John Scott out. It’s a joke.”
Ray added that he found it odd that Leafs coach Randy Carlyle sent Kessel out on the ice opposite Scott.
“Why does Randy Carlyle have his best player lining up against a guy that was going to go out and start something? You’ve got 17 other guys. Throw one of them out to diffuse the situation. Don’t put your best player out there.”
The Leafs and Sabres don’t play one another until a home-and-home series on Nov. 15-16.