John Scott's elbow sinks Sabres to new low

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

John Scott's elbow on Loui Eriksson brought the floundering Sabres to a new low on Wednesday night.

BUFFALO -- What was already an ugly start to the season for the Buffalo Sabres got a whole lot uglier Wednesday night.

With Buffalo trailing the Boston Bruins 4-2 nearly six minutes into the third period, Bruins forward Loui Eriksson skated out of the Boston zone with the puck, winding up when he reached the red line at the bottom of the Sabres logo and dumping it behind the net. While Eriksson was dumping the puck, despite the fact he was already being covered by Mark Pysyk, Scott skated straight across the logo from out of Eriksson's line of sight, coming up with the elbow and delivering a hit to Eriksson's head that left the Swede crumpled down on the ice.

The incident started a fight in the corner between Scott and Adam McQuaid. After remaining down on the ice for a few minutes, Eriksson was helped off the ice by Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Kelly and didn't return.

For the hit, Scott -- who was part of a preseason incident with Phil Kessel in Toronto that generated attention for all the wrong reasons -- was given a match penalty and now will face an in-person discipline hearing with the NHL to determine how long a seemingly pending suspension would be.

"The referees called it the way I guess everybody saw it," an upset Bruins coach Claude Julien said afterwards. "It's unfortunate but the guy who did it did his job tonight.

"He's out there for two reasons and that's either to fight or to hurt. He did his job tonight."

While the incident left the visiting Bruins fuming, the Sabres - who dropped to 1-9-1 on the year - didn't address the hit afterwards. Per those in the Buffalo locker room, none of the Sabres players addressed the matter, while Scott was not made available to reporters.

Buffalo coach Ron Rolston didn't address the hit in his postgame press conference.

"I'm not going to comment on it," Rolston said, but did reply "no" when asked if he felt his team was crossing the line.

Certainly the hit by Scott did nothing to spark the slumping Sabres, who allowed a power-play goal on the ensuing major to Scott and only recorded 2 shots in the third period on Bruins goaltender Chad Johnson in the eventual 5-2 loss that left Buffalo winless in a three-game homestand.

Per Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli, Eriksson remained behind in Buffalo while the team flew back for their game against San Jose Thursday.

"Loui is staying overnight in Buffalo for precautionary reasons," Chiarelli said in a statement. "He is expected to return to Boston on Thursday."

Sporting a five-stitch gash and a swollen nose as a result of taking a puck to the face, Milan Lucic told reporters afterwards what he saw of the hit.

"Well, we had a really good angle of it from the bench - a blindside hit to the head," said Lucic. "So the league will look at it and I know they'll take care of it."

"Well I was on the ice, but I was kind of behind the play so I kind of saw what happened but I haven't got to see it since. But it's just a reaction on a play like that," McQuaid told Boston reporters outside the locker room. "You just don't want to see guys get hit like that. See how he was kind of trying to get up afterwards, it's hard to watch that, and you want to make sure that you're there to support one another and stick up for one another.

"It's tough to see those and Quaider did a great job jumping in there," Jarome Iginla said. "Scott's obviously a tough guy, but so is Quaider. The game at that point is still on the line and fortunately we were able to get a power play goal and seal it there. You hate to see that happen but you hope he's alright and ready to go."

When asked about comparisons with Marc Savard's injuries, Julien was reluctant to compare the two.

"Pretty close, but again, they're going to be looked at; I'm not going to say much more than that," Julien said. "Obviously it's disappointing that a key player gets hurt and I know there's history here but that's a guy who plays about two to three minutes a game and targets one of your best players."

With an in-person hearing, a suspension of six games or more is likely for Scott, who ironically might miss a home-and-home series with Toronto in mid-November - the first meetings of the clubs since the Kessel incident - if his suspension exceeds 10 games.

For the Sabres, an embarassing loss on national television just was compounded with an incident that certainly will leave a black eye on the club for some time. While Rolston and Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier are under fire for the team's woeful start, certainly the latest incident with Scott will raise questions over the team's roster and how it's being utilized.

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