It didn’t take long for the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins to engage in fisticuffs.
Roughly three minutes into their highly-anticipated grudge match — the first since Buffalo’s offseason beef-up, pegged by many as a response to the Milan Lucic-Ryan Miller incident — one of the Sabres’ acquisitions, 6-foot-8 John Scott, got into it with Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton:
Not an epic tilt or anything, but definitely a shift in approach for the Sabres — and to Scott’s credit, he made good on what was promised upon being signed by Buffalo.
“John’s size and toughness make him a difficult player to battle against,” Buffalo GM Regier said upon signing him. “His physical play will be a valuable addition to our team.”
Of course, employing Scott means having to deal with him, you know, actually playing hockey. And that nearly got the Sabres in trouble late in the first period, when Scott took a bad elbowing penalty on Rich Peverley.
Update: According to multiple sources, Thornton was injured during the fight and won’t return to the contest.
Here’s more, from CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty:
Shawn Thornton had a lengthy chat with big John Scott during pregame warm-ups and it was pretty clear the two were planning out a bout once things got started. Thornton tried to get a hold of Scott so he could grapple with the 6-foot-8, 260-pound brute, but Scott landed a series of overhand right punches that sent the B’s enforcer tumbling to the ice.
He skated off to the dressing room as soon as his penalty was over and never returned to the bench in the first period. He won’t return to the game tonight. Not good.