The North East Division teams got tougher this off-season, the much maligned Buffalo Sabres signed former Dallas Star uber punk Steve Ott and former New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks pylon John Scott – not to be out done – the Montreal Canadians signed former New York Rangers tough guy Brandon Prust, who shared the NHL’s league lead in fighting majors with the Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton.
By signing these players – some have said that the North Eastern division teams are playing right into the Boston Bruins hands – last season when the Boston Bruins have at least one fighting major they have a winning record. When the Boston Bruins don't record at least one fighting major last season they had a losing record.
I do predict that these teams are not going to beat the Boston Bruins at their own game. These aforementioned teams were better off to let sleeping bears slumber.
Boston Bruins forward/tough guy Shawn Thornton led the Bruins and tied Brandon Prust for the league lead with 20 fighting majors – thirteen of Thornton’s fellow teams mates dropped the gloves as well. According to Hockeyfights.com, the Boston Bruins were second in the league in fighting majors and held a record of 37-16-8 when they recorded at least one fighting major.
James Cook, Record-Eagle --- A bruising blueliner brought in by the Sabres to contend with fiesty teams such as the Boston Bruins, Scott makes a living as an enforcer. And that role often includes fighting.
"I tell him the only thing uglier than an MMA fight is a hockey fight," Bustance joked. "He's got a good nature. But he's patient like a boxer. He's got a good eye. We can even work with the same foot position so he can do it on skates."
The 270-pound Scott isn't out there for his deft scoring touch. In 146 career NHL games, he's scored just one goal and added four assists. But he's piled up 236 penalty minutes over four seasons with the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers before signing a one-year contract with the Sabres this off-season.
Scott is ranked as one of the top 10 fighters in the NHL as a result of several vicious beatdowns he's handed out in his four seasons in the NHL.
His most infamous fight came when he was with the Blackhawks. It was Nov. 27, 2010, and Scott destroyed Kevin Westgarth, who is no small man himself.
Even at 6-5, 241, Westgarth appeared dwarfed by Scott, who heaped punishment on the Los Angeles Kings forward. Westgarth tapped out to end the fight, which is somewhat unusual because both participants were still on their feet.
The first thing that the Buffalo Sabres should try to do is teach former MTU defenseman John Scott how to skate, so he can take a regular shift on the ice and not just take up a roster spot. I couldn’t resist when I read this article.
The Rangers valued John Scott so much that they made John Scott a healthy scratch during the Rangers "entire" playoff run, because his former head coach John Tortorella felt he was a defensive liability and beating the crap out of people is not a desired trade that you need in the Stanely Cup Playoffs. For whatever reason, the New York Rangers also failed to resign Brandon Prust in the offseason as well.
Just for the record, I am a big fan of fighting in hockey and I relish a good fight between two willing combatants and would never be an advocate for eliminating fighting in the junior or professional ranks. That being said, let’s not kid ourselves – John Scott has one role in the NHL and that’s to beat the tar out of the opposition but let’s call it as we see it – he can’t skate or play hockey very well at all.
Finally, while the Boston Bruins might have been second in the league in fighting majors last season – all of their tough guys can skate and play a regular shift and a vital role on their team. There aren’t any one dimensional goons taking up a roster spot on their team. So while the Sabres employed Scott to dance with a few Bruins in six league games, the Sabres are still wasting a roster spot on a one dimensional player that has a hard time staying in the lineup.
Cross Posted at Goon's World.