It looks like Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel is following TSN’s Darren Dreger’s advice of going with the “survival instincts” defense regarding his multiple slashes on Buffalo Sabres tough guy John Scott during Sunday’s wild line brawl.
The incident happened in the beginning of the melee, so decide for yourself if Kessel deserves a suspension or not:
“It was pretty stupid, right?” Kessel told reporters, as per the Globe and Mail. “He said he was going to jump me … He’s a big boy. If he’s coming after me, what are you gonna do?”
Kessel told TSN he thanked his Leafs teammates for defending him.
Scott, for what it’s worth, hinted to the Globe he was “joking” about the threat.
According to NHL.com’s listings, Scott is eight inches taller and almost 70 lbs. heavier than Kessel. Perhaps it makes sense that Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said the Leafs had no one who could “match” Scott, then.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes that Kessel, 29, will only get a slap on the wrist from the league and might not lose out on any regular season games.
On the other hand, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston notes that Kessel received a match penalty for intent to injure, which apparently carries an automatic suspension (until commissioner Gary Bettman makes a ruling).