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Sabres coach Rolston fined for line brawl vs. Leafs

Sep 24, 2013, 4:56 PM EDT

RonRolston

The second punishment from Sunday’s Toronto-Buffalo melee has been handed down.

On Tuesday, the NHL fined Sabres head coach Ron Rolston an undisclosed sum for “player selection and team conduct” during the game.

The incident began at 10:01 of the third period, following a fight between Buffalos’ Corey Tropp and Toronto’s Jamie Devane. John Scott, who was already on the ice, lined up for the ensuing faceoff and then started an altercation with Leafs winger Phil Kessel.

What transpired was a full line brawl that saw over 200 penalty minutes handed out. Toronto forward David Clarkson, who left the bench to engage in the fight, has already been suspended (mandatory) 10 games for his role in the fisticuffs, though it’s been reported he may appeal the suspension.

Kessel has a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday afternoon to decide his fate. He was given a match penalty for swinging his stick at Scott on two separate occasions.

As for Rolston’s fine, do expect to hear some questions as to what exact rule(s) he broke. The fight did not occur in the final five minutes of the game — thereby negating the coaching fine in rule 46.22 — so it’ll be curious to hear the league’s reasoning… if we do hear anything.

UPDATE

Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News also points out the Sabres were down forwards due to injury, and that Scott had played nearly eight-and-a-half minutes prior to the incident. Also, the Maple Leafs had the final change.

  1. freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    huh? A coach may not send the players to his liking onto the ice? Who dictates the choice, then? Shanaban? Or Gary? Or MLSE?

  2. rochockey11 - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Scott was already on the ice when the Tropp fight occurred so rolston didn’t put him out, he left him out to finish his shift. Plus the leafs had last change and could have lined anyone up against him. Not sure you get fined for not making a player change.

    • Mike Halford - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Sorry, should’ve clarified — Rolston sent Scott out, but it was prior to the Tropp-Devane fight. Scott stayed out after the fight and lined up alongside Kessel.

    • arlingtonrob - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      Just curious…has Scott been playing the wing or D? After watching him in Chicago he’s at best a marginal defender, but he’s moved to forward to cause trouble.

      • bullwinkle88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        Scott has always played wing with the Sabres.

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Doesn’t matter if Scott was already out there or not before the play. It’s still the coach’s call to leave him on the ice and to send him out to try and injure Kessel.

  3. joey4id - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Player selection and team conduct! What the heck is in the rule book for player selection? Hope we hear from the NHL on this one, and we can expect a suspension for Mr. Kessel. Leafs will be hurting without Clarkson while he serves out his suspension because suspended he will be. The rule book on leaving the bench during a brawl is clear. If Rolston got a fine for team conduct, then, will Carlyle be suspended because Clarkson left the bench?

  4. travishenryskid - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Yeah, this is pretty bush league.

  5. billyhauntswizards - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    terrible, terrible fine.

  6. pxland - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    I have to think the league had some evidence that he told Scott to line up against, and go after Kessel. Otherwise this makes little sense. It’s funny though.

  7. bullwinkle88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    This fine does make no sense and the league will not come out to explain their reasoning – because there is no explanation.

    What it is is simply a carrot given to the rabid Toronto fans who demand some retribution for Scott going after Kessel. It’s a shame that the league feels it has to placate a fan base.

    • imleftcoast - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Did you watch Game 7 versus Boston?

  8. earpaniac - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    This doesn’t make a lot of sense, if any.

  9. blackandorangeforlife - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    I’m not surprised by this. Kessel and Clarkson are gone for a few and other then an unwritten rule the Sabres didn’t really do anything wrong….And i’m not cheering for Scott either…..But what can the league do to Sabres players other than bad taste?…….Fine the coach….I dont get the player selection part but team conduct makes since.
    Keep in mind a week ago about the comments Kaletta made….Retaliation….Only in both cases the plays were clean…Thus the fine!

  10. alswingman - Sep 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    This is just the start. The league is going back to the 1920s and dishing out fines to coaches for the same infraction. The Montreal Maroons are in for a big surprise. Also, Pat Quinn needs to hide his checkbook.

  11. thedavesiknowiknow - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    Somehow I knew Shanahan would embarrass himself more than anyone involved did.

  12. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    For the first time in 40 years a call goes the Leafs way and suddenly there’s this grand conspiracy to keep big market Toronto up and small market Buffalo down.

    Please. Scott was the aggressor of the whole brawl and got away scott free. Any damage Kessel could have possibly done with his stick can be fixed by sharpening his skate blade. That last “spear” was nothing. People making it out to be something worse are the usual people who overreact to anything Toronto does.

    • thedavesiknowiknow - Sep 25, 2013 at 4:25 AM

      None of that has to do with the coach getting fined. It’s pretty clear that’s what the backlash is about.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Oh really? Then why are people saying moronic stuff like this?

        “huh? A coach may not send the players to his liking onto the ice? Who dictates the choice, then? Shanaban? Or Gary? Or MLSE?”

        “What it is is simply a carrot given to the rabid Toronto fans who demand some retribution for Scott going after Kessel. It’s a shame that the league feels it has to placate a fan base.”

        “This is just the start. The league is going back to the 1920s and dishing out fines to coaches for the same infraction. The Montreal Maroons are in for a big surprise. Also, Pat Quinn needs to hide his checkbook.”

        Implying the Leafs paid off the NHL, or are somehow in charge of what calls get made. As a long time Leaf fan, the thought that the league is HELPING the Leafs is hilarious. You’d think the team that is by far the richest would have been able to buy at least one cup in the last 46 years if that was remotely true.

        You haters gotta hate, so have at it. Your obvious biases are funny to me. Keep making your excuses why the victim of the attack and the guy who stepped in to help him are the bad guy. Lets all smell John Scotts rosey farts. He’s the innocent victim in all this, according to you idiots.

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