Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel has been suspended for the remainder of the preseason — three games — for slashing at Buffalo’s John Scott during Sunday’s wild line brawl.
Kessel, who was jumped by Scott off the faceoff, had received a match penalty for intent to injure.
“While we acknowledge that Kessel’s initial motivation was self defense, he persists and swings his stick again, even after having escaped the immediate threat from Scott,” explained NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan.
Shanahan also notes that Kessel’s sentence included consideration of a stick-swinging incident against Philadelphia earlier in the preseason, as shown in the explanatory video:
Kessel will now miss Toronto’s game tonight against Ottawa and the Friday-Saturday back-to-backs against Detroit on Sept. 27 and 28. He will be eligible to return when the Leafs open the regular season against Montreal on Oct. 1.