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Sabres’ Scott suspended seven games for Eriksson headshot

Oct 31, 2013, 5:46 PM EDT

JohnScott Getty Images

Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott has been suspended seven games for his illegal check to the head of Boston’s Loui Eriksson, the NHL has announced.

Scott, 31, was suspended indefinitely pending his in-person hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, a meeting that took place today. As such, he’s already served three of his seven games and will miss a fourth tonight as the Sabres take on the Rangers in New York.

“Scott cuts across Eriksson and delivers and delivers a shoulder to Eriksson’s head, making it the main point of contact and causing a serious injury,” NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan explained. “Although Eriksson is eligible to be checked on this play, he is not eligible to be checked in this fashion.”

Shanahan also said it was “important” to note the onus of the hit — and subsequent injury — landed solely on Scott, as Eriksson made no late movements or shifts to play into the contact.

Here’s the video:

Also worth noting that Shanahan threw out the “headshot because he’s tall defense,” on the grounds that Scott has recorded over 200 hits in his NHL career, and hasn’t faced supplemental discipline for any of them.

Translation: Despite being 6-foot-8, Scott knows how to hit people legally.

Scott will forfeit $26,923.05 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. He is eligible to return to action on Friday, Nov. 8 when the Sabres play in Anaheim against the Ducks.

  1. drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Said it before and it applies again:


    • imleftcoast - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      Agreed, this is arbitrary. If you’re going to pretend Edler got more for being a repeat offender, then Scott gets less. Chara got nothing for the hit on Wingels.

      • elvispocomo - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:10 AM

        I’d note the 2 games Hanzal got as a repeat offender as disparity to the 7 in this one. Edler did very little to actively hit Hertl, so that likely played a part in the length, but should have known he’d make contact with the head. Hanzal very actively jumped and used the elbow in his but only gets 2?

    • hockey412 - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:57 AM

      It’s always so easy to throw criticism his way without saying what YOU think the suspension should have been. From your comments below I’d say you’d probably rule that Scott should be shot in the head along with the coach and owner.

      Shanahan doesn’t have that type of luxury. This is a long suspension for a guy that, while he is a goon, doesn’t throw many horrible checks (mostly because he’s too damn slow to be near the play).

      I like the job Shanahan’s doing. The only area where Shanahan is lacking in my opinion is consistency when it comes to the “superstars”…hits from players like Chara should be looked at, yet the league doesn’t even do a phone hearing. But that’s not on Shanahan – everyone knows where those decisions come from.

  2. drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    And where’s the suspension of the coach?

    • drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      I know he wasn’t in for a hearing or anything, but he should have been.

      • zacmelvinmcnutt - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        Um? Why would the coach be suspended? Why would that thought even go through your head? I didn’t know that the coaches were solely responsible for the players actions.

      • sabatimus - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        There was no reason for Scott to be on the ice at that time, except to hurt someone. That decision lies with the coach.

      • drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:15 PM

        It is widely believed Rolston ordered the hit. It’s also widely believed that there are other coaches who do this. If the coach is ordering the player to do it, this practice should be stopped.

        Or at least uncovered. Sheesh.

      • drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        You guys don’t think coaches do this? You might want to learn something about the NHL.

      • flyerspsu - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        no, coaches dont order their goon to throw blinside head shots at other teams best players … they tell them to play physical and throw big legal checks, do you have anything in the least bit to support your claim?

    • elvispocomo - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:13 AM

      They’re holding off on that hearing until they actually put a rule in place that allows for a suspension to anyone other than the player.

  3. sabatimus - Oct 31, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    More than I expected, but not enough (as are all punishments for hits like this).

    • hockey412 - Nov 1, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      Just out of curiousity, what about Chara’s hit to the head of Wingels? How many games for that one, in your opinion?

  4. killerpgh - Oct 31, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    It shouldn’t matter if you think Shanny is usually to easy or to strict with him suspensions. This 7 game suspension seem high for his norm.

    • drewsylvania - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      Shamahan is all over the place.

  5. zacmelvinmcnutt - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Good, this goon deserves it

  6. pitpenguinsrulez - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    There should be consistency with all head shots.

    1st offense) 10 games
    2nd offense) 25 games
    3rd offense ) whole 82 game schedule…whether it’s x amount of games into the season you should still be suspended a whole season worth of games

    • zacmelvinmcnutt - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      Don’t you think that’s a bit extreme? You must feel very strongly about this. 10 games for a first time offence? I guess it’s a good thing you’re not the league disciplinarian.

      You do realize that accidental head shots do happen right? A guy might go for a shoulder check and the opposing player is shorter in height and has his head down thus ensuing and accidental hit to the head. You really think a player should get 10, 25, 82 game suspensions for that?

      • sabatimus - Oct 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM


    • Blackhawks5xchamps - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      I whole heartedly agree with this. There is ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE FOR THESE TYPES OF HITS IN THE GAME. Legal lower body hits i have no issue with but Head hunting is just wrong. I don’t think Scott goes around head hunting but he deserves everything he is getting to learn from it.

  7. pi2000 - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    7 games for a first offense? Seems a bit extreme. Was expecting 3-4.

  8. skr213 - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I used to agree with all the Shanny-wheel-of-fortune comments, but actually I think this year his sentences have actually made sense for the most part and have been consistent if you pay attention to what Shanny says about the hits. (I can’t believe I just defended Shanny)

    • billsin20xx - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      How can anyone think this makes sense when you see Lapieere, garbutt and Mccloed (bad spelling, I know) get 5 each for blasting people from behind. And Chara doesn’t even get a game for his head hit.
      IMHO, head hits should be penalized whether the recipient is hurt or not, the injury shouldn’t even factor in as any head hit can produce terrible results. But it should be fair, Scott has never been fined or suspended, he made a mistake, he should be made an example of because he’s big.

      • skr213 - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        I’m 100% with you regarding Chara. I have NO idea how that guy escapes suspensions. It’s like his dirty hits exist in some Bermuda triangle in Shanny’s office. But I’m talking about *consistency* here. All those events you bring up were boarding penalties – and there was consistency in their outcome. This was a direct head shot, and Shanny has been *fairly* consistent in dealing with these hits this season.

      • leninthebuff - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:14 AM

        @skr213 you are wrong, the Garbutt hit was a elbow to the head of Penner. Garbutt got out of the penalty box, skated full speed across the ice, left his feet and hit Penner with an elbow to the head. He Received 5 games.
        I’m not sticking up for Scott but 7 games was to harsh…5 would have been the right number.

  9. blackhawks2010 - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Ogie Oglethorpe was suspended? Whew

    – Reg Dunlop

  10. shortsxit34 - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    zacmelvin – Rolston was fined less than a month ago for “player selection and team conduct” less than a month ago. So yes, Rolston can absolutely face punishment for not controlling his team–he already has.

    • leninthebuff - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      @shortsxit34 and that was a bogus fine against Rolston bc Scott was originally on the ice when the fight with Tropp and Devane took place…he was not sent out after the fact he just stayed on the ice to continue his shift.

  11. shortsxit34 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    I’m trying to put myself in Shanahan’s head right now.

    Dirty hit: 10 games
    First time offender: -5 games
    No name talent that won’t hurt the league, i.e. someone he can throw under the bus: 2 games

    Or he used a dart board…hell if I know.

  12. voltron217 - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    To say a coach should be fined for player selection is moronic. Its hockey not ballet.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      A Cindy Crosby comment here would dignify a bunch of jealous haters.

      • lordstanley65 - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:46 PM

        Ok. Cindy sucks.

  13. flyerspsu - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    shanahan has really been ramping up the suspensions this year, a lot more hits are getting suspensions and getting more games, this ruling seems to be on par with this years suspensions

    • spitfisher - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      Its not enough though, there is far more injuries. I want to watch hockey not stretchers and immobilizers on the ice of key players

  14. tdaveniii - Oct 31, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    I don’t even agree that Eriksson was “eligible to be checked”. He’d dumped the puck. It was a late hit. The headshot was adding injury to insult.

  15. spitfisher - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    If Shanahan an the rest of the league wishes to get rid of concussions- and I think we can all agree that this is becoming way to frequent in Hockey as well as football. Players are much bigger, stronger and faster. Mr Shanahan get firm with tougher suspensions! Scott plays 3-4 minutes per game, so in other words you suspended him 21-28 minutes for potentially a career altering injury. I believe the he should be suspended 10 games AND for as long as it takes for Ericson to recover and return….which ever is longer!

    Oh sure some will argue that, that’s to long or to severe, Look at this way you will have far fewer concussions and far fewer suspensions….

    right now its getting out of control and supposedly its been a major concern of the league for a couple of years now, with more frequency!

  16. 950003cups - Nov 1, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I think Shanahan has been doing a fantastic job. Anyone who complains is new to hockey and has never had to witness the pathetic biased decision making by Colin Campbell. Especially when the incident involved a player with the name Campbell on their jersey.

  17. nhstateline - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    If he appeals I bet it goes to five. I’m not surprised it wasn’t a ten game or more suspension. What’s in the cba counts and this is actually above that so if the PA wants to defend the rights of one of its members to due process in a case where said member knocked another one of its members into next week, it probably can succeed in doing that. If I was one of the guys who’ve been hurt in this way, I would start asking my paid representatives why they are defending the rights of the perpetrator instead of mine. That’s another way this could be stopped: if the PA tells its members: “there are some things that we aren’t going to do defend and obvious, vicious head shots would be one of them.” Lost in all this is the way in which the Bruins players and coaches acted in the rest of that game. They just kept playing. It’s a good lesson for Ron Rolston. It doesn’t matter if you get the big hit or win the fight unless that contributes to winning the game. He and his players don’t seem to get that. I mean it isn’t like the Bruins don’t have a couple of guys in Providence they could bring up for the next game with Buffalo with the specific intent of banging one of their skill players into next week with a head shot even though the stated intention would be to just deal with John Scott. It’s that they won’t because putting those guys on the roster will make the team worse and lead to less games won. I’m not surprised that Buffalo’s doing better with John Scott suspended. His suspension opened up a roster spot for an NHL level player instead of a goon.

  18. dirte42 - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    The hit was definately high, there’s no arguing that. Scott really has no business playing in the NHL, there’s no arguing that. He should have gotten a suspension, wont even argue that… But he’s never been suspended or even fined! How do you justify a 7 game suspension?!?! What… 7 games just so he doesnt play against Toronto? And like someone said earlier, Chara doesn’t even get a phone call for a nearly identicle hit the very next night? Why? Because he’s an all-star? Cant suspend those guys!!! (unless its a preseason game)

    • nhstateline - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      Why didn’t Chara get a phone call ? Because it wasn’t the same hit and the league did review it. You can argue if that should have been a penalty or not but that hit was not like what Scott did to Erikkson. Not the same thing at all. But if there was a rule saying no head shots, none, just like the high stick rule, I’d support that and punishing players who violate it. Right now there is not that rule meaning the NHL does what the NHL does and they make money by attracting clicks to websites to complain about what the NHL does. Head shots are bad for business but vague rulings about head shots that get people to go to NHL and NHL partner websites to complain, that’s good for business. So this probably stays as is for a good while longer.

  19. mgendreau33 - Nov 1, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    a hit like that can end a career. he should be out until Erikkson returns.

  20. cliverush - Nov 1, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Coach Julian said it when asked after the game what happened. He said Scott did his job and that was to hurt someone. The guy is a goon without a doubt. Hockey is changing from it’s old form to a new style that will keep the game alive and the League office recognizes this, thus Shannahan has done a good job. With the cost of putting a star player on the ice under the salary cap rules making it difficult to field four NHL level lines the owners are not going to put up with a losing organization, like Buffalo, setting out to destroy their better opponents players.

  21. bullwinkle88 - Nov 1, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Complete crap. This was not an illegal hit. There should have been no suspension or even hearing…or even a penalty!

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