Ron Rolston Fined By NHL For "Player Selection", Kessel Suspended For The Rest Of The Preseason
Amidst the suspensions to Toronto players that were handed out as a result of the Sabres and Leafs brawl, Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined for player selection and team conduct.
Today the NHL decided to fine Ron Rolston for his role in Sunday's line brawl between the Sabres and Maple Leafs. Rolston, who did not throw a single punch, was fined for "player selection and team conduct" according to NHL.com.
After Corey Tropp had his head driven to the ice by Jamie Devane, the Sabres were understandably upset, seeing as the "throwing your head into the ice" thing looks like it was probably avoidable. Ron Rolston responded by sending out a line that included John Scott. Regardless of whether you think deserves has a place in the NHL, Scott's presence on the ice after a team injury means only one thing - it's on.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle, rather than realize what 99% of fans watching the game did, instead sent out a skill line that included Phil Kessel in order to "diffuse the situation." This would be akin to sending the Metropolitan Opera Company to the Middle East to help "diffuse the situation."
Carlyle was then shocked - shocked! - when his master plan failed, and then the internet argued about John Scott all day. When the dust settled, David Clarkson was suspended 10 games, and despite his repeated slashing and jabbing of Scott with his stick, Phil Kessel was suspended for zero....games that actually matter.
Rolston, meanwhile, was suspended for having John Scott on his team and putting him on the ice to do the thing he's best known for. To his credit Scott did have an assist on the evening (a "sick assist...baby sauce pass" according to the surprisingly well-spoken big man) and Scott simply did what his teammates expected - he responded to what he determined was an unfair injury to one of his teammates.
Both decisions - the Rolston fine and the Kessel suspension - are questionable decisions by the NHL at best, and laughable at worst. And despite the threat that the "terrifying super-goon" John Scott represents, the Sabres were the only team to leave this tussle with any significant injuries. The first matchup between these two teams on November 15 becomes more interesting by the day.