Every team has their own version of him. A player who is put out there for one reason: to scare the opposition. Most teams would say their version of a ‘goon’ can skate, chip in offensively, defend teammates and bring more to the table than just intimidation. The Buffalo Sabres’ John Scott, however, is not exactly in that category.
Coming into this season, Scott had dressed in 180 NHL games, netting one goal and four assists. It is understood that not everyone can be a perennial goal-scorer at an elite level like the NHL. Some guys just struggle to hit the back of the net.
There is no better example of this than Scott Gomez. The one time 30-goal scorer netted a combined four goals in his last two seasons when playing his final year in Montreal and his one-year stint with the Sharks. While four is clearly better than one, and those four goals happening in 77 games opposed to one goal in 180 are vastly different statistics, the point is that not everyone can light the lamp game in and game out.
Where John Scott differs from Scott Gomez drastically is the penalty minutes. Scott averages 1.7 penalty minutes per game. A player who averages only five minutes of ice time per game spends almost 40% of that sitting in the penalty box. To make matters worse for Scott, on October 31, 2013, Scott was suspended 7 games for an illegal check to the head of the Bruins’ Loui Eriksson. Scott has no business being out on the same sheet of ice surface as Eriksson. Not because Eriksson is untouchable nor invisible, rather Eriksson’s game should never coincide with being defended by Scott. Scott had one thing on his mind on that play: the intent to injure an opposing player. Once that happens, a player has no business returning to the game for a long time.
He is starting to make a mockery of the league. While he managed to net the second goal of his career in this campaign, Scott is the reason the NHL is transforming. He simply does not want to adjust to the safety precautions the NHL is trying to institute.
“Scott cuts across Eriksson and delivers a shoulder to Eriksson’s head, making it the main point of contact and causing a serious injury,” said Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety. “This is an illegal check to the head. Although Eriksson is eligible to be checked on this play, he is not eligible to be checked in this fashion.”
It is surprising that Shanahan did not come down harder on Scott for his actions. If he has another infraction, I anticipate Shanahan will suspend Scott for half a season based off of Scott’s credentials.