Niagara Gazette

Sports

October 25, 2013

MEILER: Eriksson's blood on NHL's hands

Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo Sabres' Season from Hell plunged further into the abyss Wednesday night with another embarrassing loss, this time at home to the hated Boston Bruins in a nationally-televised game promoted as part of NBC Sports Network's Wednesday Night Rivalry series.

An uncharacteristically watchable first period from the 1-9-1 Sabres gave way to a predictably sloppy second, but Buffalo somehow found itself trailing by just one heading into the third. More uninspired play allowed the Bruins to score and essentially clinch the win early in the period, but the game's defining play came well after the outcome was already decided.

With 14:11 left in regulation, Buffalo enforcer John Scott went out of his way to run over Boston's Loui Eriksson, a four-time 25-goal scorer acquired in the offseason. Scott's hit was far from historic in terms of NHL brutality, but it was late and high, and that it came from a "goon" seems to for some reason make it worse in the eyes of observers.

A close comparison would be Chris Neil's late hit on Chris Drury that incited the infamous line brawl/goalie fight between the Sabres and the Ottawa Senators on February 22, 2007. After Drury released a pass, Neil went out of his way to line up the Sabres' captain, hit him high and left a bloody mass lying on the ice.

If Neil's hit was a '10' on the Cheap Shot Scale, Scott's probably falls somewhere around an eight. It wasn't as late, and while it was high, most of that is due to Scott standing 6-foot-8 and Eriksson 6-foot-2.

Eriksson had to be helped off the ice and stayed in Buffalo overnight for "precautionary reasons," according to Boston coach Claude Julien. While his condition is unsure, Scott will have an in-person hearing with NHL player safety czar Brendan Shanahan, a necessary step under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement taken when the league wants to suspend a player for more than five games.

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