Scott becomes latest Sabre to be suspended
Buffalo Sabres tough guy John Scott has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL pending a disciplinary hearing for a blindside hit to the head that leveled Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo Sabres enforcer John Scott was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Thursday. And teammate Patrick Kaleta's appeal to reduce his 10-game suspension was denied by league commissioner Gary Bettman.
Scott has been given the opportunity to attend an in-person hearing, which will be Thursday morning. The hearing is offered when a suspension has the potential to exceed five games.
Scott defended his style of play and also said he didn't intend to injure Eriksson.
"I don't think I'm a dirty player. I try to play within the code and within the rules," he said after the team's practice at First Niagara Center on Thursday. "This is my first suspension and I don't think I'm a dirty player. I don't try to be a dirty player. I feel really upset. I was sick to my stomach last night knowing what happened and watching the video, I just kind of regret the situation. I don't want to be a dirty player."
Scott said he texted Eriksson to apologize.
The news didn't get any better for Buffalo, which is now down two roster spots because of suspended players.
In supporting league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan's initial ruling, Bettman noted Kaleta was a repeat offender, having been previously suspended three times, and added that Kaleta could have avoided hitting Johnson.
"I do conclude that he could have and should have avoided the hit altogether," Bettman wrote. "As Mr. Shanahan testified at the hearing, 'I think there was also the option of not throwing the check. That (is) always an option.'"
Kaleta wasn't penalized, and Johnson did not miss any ice time.
Kaleta has already missed six games and stands to lose $152,439 in salary. He has one last option to appeal Bettman's ruling by taking his case to neutral discipline arbitrator James Oldham.
Scott's suspension came after he was issued a match penalty for charging and ejected for his hit on Eriksson early in the third period of Boston's 5-2 win Wednesday. Eriksson was skating through the neutral zone and had just dumped the puck into the Sabres zone when Scott skated in from the player's right and struck him with a shoulder to the face.
Eriksson was dazed and didn't return. He stayed in Buffalo overnight as a precaution.
The Bruins, who host San Jose on Thursday night, said Thursday that Eriksson was diagnosed with a concussion and traveled back to Boston. He is out indefinitely.
There is a history between these teams that most recently dates back two years ago when Bruins star Milan Lucic bowled over star Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, which most people believe led to the Sabres acquiring Scott in the summer of 2012.
The Sabres are now down two roster spots with Scott and Kaleta suspended.
The Sabres (1-9-1), off to their worst start in franchise history, made two roster moves Thursday in preparing for a two-game road swing that opens at Florida on Friday.
Fourth-line forward Cody McCormick was activated after missing two games with a leg injury.
The Sabres waived forward Kevin Porter for assignment to the minors, according to a person familiar with the move. The person informed The Associated Press of the decision on the condition of anonymity because coach Ron Rolston declined to say how the team was going to free up a roster spot to add McCormick.
Information from ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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