Buffalo Sabres: Should John Scott have a place on the roster?

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.

John Scott, Buffalo Sabres

John Scott elbowing forward Loui Eriksson

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.

Follow isportsweb on twitter

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.

  • Know et al

    I just finished searching John Scott on Google, not because I’m a Sabres fan (I’m a Habs fan), but because I watched the game between the Sabres and the Pens last evening (Feb. 5) and I noticed this huge guy on the Sabres who was skating really well (and fast) and began to wonder who that could be… turns out it was John Scott! I know his numbers to date depict this guy as a goon, but under a new coach and a new system he’s starting to see some regular ice time and I have to say he looks like he could be a very good player for the Sabres (albiet one who still has a limited role as a fourth liner who can also be an enforcer when needed). I only saw the third period so I missed his fight, but he skated very well and kept up with the Pens (and other Sabres… these are fast teams). He certainly did not look out of place and I was impressed and quite happy to see him getting a chance to skate and show that he does indeed belong in the NHL – and with a regular shift. I think giving him an opportunity to play like they are now doing in Buffalo will change a lot of people’s minds about John Scott’s abilities. I know he made me a believer last night and I’ll be paying closer attention to him from now on.