By Mike Harrington
The Buffalo Sabres move on tonight with the preseason home finale against Columbus in First Niagara Center (it's the only MSG telecast of the preseason). But the talk of the dressing room after today's morning skate was still back on Sunday's chaos in Toronto and the league's decision Tuesday to fine coach Ron Rolston for "player selection and player conduct."
Before commenting on his fine, which is believed to be $10,000, Rolston announced that winger Corey Tropp suffered a broken jaw in his fight with Jamie Devane that was the precursor to the big brawl. Tropp, who also suffered a mild concussion, will be out 5-6 weeks.
Prior to the next faceoff, John Scott initiated a fight against Leafs winger Phil Kessel and a full line brawl erupted featuring goalies Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier. Rolston was clearly fined for Scott's actions and tried to be diplomatic toward league officials Wednesday.
"It's part of what they do," Rolston said. "They have to make a decision on what's best for the league. Those are things we can't control so we do what is handed down and go from there. It's because it was John. It's just more reputation but he had played the whole game, played well and was playing a good game for us. He had an assist on the first goal. He's worked hard on his game to play hockey too. But I think obviously reputation is a big part of that."
"I was pretty surprised. I didn't expect that," Scott said. "I was a little shocked by it. ... It was strange because I was already on the ice and we had first change. I think it's foreign territory as far as player selection and coaches getting fined. "
Another reason the Sabres are miffed is because Scott had already played 8:47 in the game and the Sabres were down three forwards. Had there been no incidents, Scott clearly would have gone over 10 minutes of ice time.
"I don't think it was that unrealistic I would be out there," Scott said.
"I don't know what kind of precedent that sets but I never knew you couldn't put who you want on the ice," added winger Steve Ott. "That's a very confusing thing. I don't understand how they came about it."
Rolston has worked with Kessel in U.S. National Development team camps and said he did not say a word to Scott prior to the faceoff. He added, "I would never send a player out to go after another player to start with let alone somebody you coached in the past. It's just an unfortunate situation."
Kessel got a three-game preseason suspension for slashing Scott, who said he understood Kessel's actions. Cracked Ott: "I'm sure he's pretty excited to be missing the rest of the preseason, let's be honest here."
As for tonight's game against Columbus, Cody McCormick (hand) and Marcus Foligno (upper-body strain) will be out. Rolston said McCormick may play Friday in Carolina and Foligno likely won't, although he's expected to be ready for next week's opener in Detroit.
Jhonas Enroth will be in goal. The item to watch will be the re-pairing on defense of Henrik Tallinder and Tyler Myers for the first time since Tallinder returned in a summer trade with New Jersey. Mark Pysyk will be with Christian Ehrhoff and Mike Weber will be with Rasmus Ristolainen. It's the first time Tallinder and Myers have been reunited in camp, although Rolston said he was most looking to get Pysyk, who is clearly going to be in the opening night lineup, some time on the blueline with Ehrhoff.
The forward lines will be Vanek-Hodgson-Stafford, Ott-Ennis-Leino, Girgensons-Grigorenko-Armia, Scott-Larsson-Kaleta. Scratches for tonight will be Adam, Flynn, Porter, McBain, Zadorov.
Click below for full audio from today's sessions with Scott, Ott and Rolston.
taggedJohn Scott | Ron Rolston