As a fan of the Boston Bruins, I was taught very early that the Bruins are amazing. I was also taught that everything the Montreal Canadiens do is backward, mean-spirited, and possibly evil. Those two teams have had a storied rivalry for nearly a century. The bad blood travels on from generation to generation. For me, I can have a conversation with most hockey fans, save those who wear the Habs jerseys. (I admit, it’s partially my prejudice, and that’s something I do need to work on.)
For those who have read my blogs over the last two years, you know I actually enjoy the fan base from Toronto and Buffalo. They are the nicest bunch of people you can ever disagree about hockey with. The Sabres organization is a class organization that plays clean, solid hockey (we’ll get to the John Scott exception in a moment.) The Toronto club came within a hair’s breath of taking us out of the playoffs last year. If it wasn’t for some amazing last second heroics by Patrice Bergeron and the rest of the Bruins team, we all know the landscape in Boston (from the GM on down) would be radically different.
There has been a history between the organizations in the past. It’s certainly no Boston/Montreal feud, but it certainly has its own color. Well that Blue and white color saw a bit too much red last night. The brawl that took place in the third period turned the Air Canada Centre into hockey’s version of ‘Thunderdome.’ With respect to the Sabres organization, I respect your franchise. However, if you put a man on the ice that has less career goals than some of your opponents have Stanley Cup rings, then he might not be a hockey player, but more of a thug on skates.
Whatever Boston fans think of Phil Kessel, even diehard Bruins’ fans have to respect his professionalism and skill set. He scored the first goal of the night thanks to help from Tyler Bozak. It was a textbook offensive play that led to a good scoring opportunity and a goal. Kessel’s second goal was him battling through traffic to get a one-timer on the net. Kessel has amazing hands, and he’s playing with a team whose system acknowledges that. That John Scott decided to assault Kessel (and that’s the kindest way of putting it) for doing his job…it just lowers my opinion of him.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were leading halfway through the third period, when an altercation escalated to a fight, a fight escalated to a brawl, and a brawl became Brendan Shanahan’s worst nightmare. For those of you who didn’t get to watch the chaos that erupted in Toronto, here’s the video. This covers what happened, but doesn’t do justice to the amount of penalties handed out to both teams. This is the list of penalties issued for that fight alone. It reads like the Magna Carta of hockey hooliganism. (Although one has to admire how Kessel used his stick like a katana on John Scott (for all the bloody good it did).
10:01 TOR J. Devane Fighting - 5 min against C. Tropp
10:01 BUF C. Tropp Fighting - 5 min against J. Devane
10:01 TOR A. MacWilliam Fighting - 5 min against M. Zigomanis
10:01 TOR T. Bozak Fighting - 5 min against C. Ruhwedel
10:01 TOR J. Bernier Fighting - 5 min against R. Miller
10:01 TOR T. Brennan Fighting - 5 min against D. Bagnall
10:01 BUF B. Flynn Fighting - 5 min against C. Ashton
10:01 BUF M. Zigomanis Fighting - 5 min against A. MacWilliam
10:01 BUF C. Ruhwedel Fighting - 5 min against T. Bozak
10:01 BUF J. Scott Fighting - 5 min against D. Clarkson
10:01 BUF R. Miller Fighting - 5 min against J. Bernier
10:01 TOR D. Clarkson Leaving player’s/penalty bench - 10 min
10:01 BUF D. Bagnall Fighting - 5 min against T. Brennan
10:01 TOR C. Ashton Fighting - 5 min against D. Bagnall
10:01 BUF J. Scott served by M. Grigorenko Instigator - 2 min against P. Kessel
10:01 TOR J. Bernier Goalie leave crease - 2 min against R. Miller
10:01 BUF R. Miller Goalie leave crease - 2 min
10:01 BUF J. Scott Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 BUF J. Scott Game misconduct - 10 min against P. Kessel
10:01 TOR C. Ashton Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 TOR T. Bozak Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 TOR T. Brennan Misconduct - 10 min
10:01TOR A. MacWilliam Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 TOR J. Bernier Game misconduct - 10 min
10:01 BUF D. Bagnall Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 BUF M. Zigomanis Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 BUF B. Flynn Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 BUF R. Miller Game misconduct - 10 min against J. Bernier
10:01 BUF C. Ruhwedel Misconduct - 10 min
10:01 TOR P. Kessel Match penalty - 10 min against J. Scott
Needless to say, the department of Player Safety has already ordered a case of antacids to help them sort through the quagmire of penalties, suspensions, and appeals that will no doubt spring from this altercation. The total list of all game penalties can be found here. Clarkson stands to lose half a million if he gets suspended ten games, and others will likely be absent (Kessel included) for at least one game.
There’s old time hockey, and there’s the battle of Agincourt. Last night, it got a little to close to the latter.