BUFFALO – The NHL laid a seven-game suspension today on Sabres tough guy John Scott for his blindside headshot that concussed Boston’s Loui Eriksson last week.
In banning Scott, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan noted that while Scott had never been fined or suspended, the 6-foot-8 winger has 217 hits in his 187-game career.
“While that works in Scott’s favor, it also takes away any argument on his part that illegal head contact is inevitable simply because he is 6-foot-8,” Shanahan said in a video explaining the suspension.
Shanahan said Eriksson’s injury played a role in the suspension length.
Scott will forfeit $26,923.05 during the ban. The 31-year-old has already served three games and is eligible to return Nov. 8 in Anaheim. He had his in-person hearing this morning in New York, hours before the Sabres’ tilt against the Rangers.
Officials gave Scott a five-minute match penalty and ejected him after hitting the 6-foot-2 Eriksson with his shoulder early in the third period of the Sabres’ 5-2 loss to the Bruins.
Shanahan noted Eriksson never changed the position of his body or head prior to the hit after passing the puck in the neutral zone. He said Eriksson was eligible to be checked but not in that manner.
“The onus is entirely upon Scott to ensure Eriksson’s head isn’t the main point of contact of any hit he chooses to make,” Shanahan said.
Scott can appeal to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
The hit ignited a firestorm of controversy, with many saying Scott shouldn’t have been on the ice so late in a close game.
“It happened pretty fast,” an apologetic Scott said about the hit last Thursday. “I just thought I was completing a check. But, obviously, I hit his head. It wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for. I didn’t want to do that. It’s just a bad play, unfortunate it happened.”