An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:
• There was nothing wrong with a tough guy like Buffalo’s John Scott looking to start something in the Sabres’ preseason tilt against the Maple Leafs on Sunday night. The problem is that he picked on superstar forward Phil Kessel. That stupid decision prompted a line brawl that featured Ryan Miller going at it with Jonathan Bernier and led to David Clarkson hopping over the boards to protect Kessel. If you start your day hand-milling granola while wearing your favorite Birkenstocks, you might not want to watch as the carnage unfolds.
• Damien Cox points the finger of blame at Buffalo coach Ron Rolston.
• Here’s a look at the penalties handed out after the fray. Nice job by the stripes, there.
• Clarkson is all but certain to get 10 games for joining the fray. Kessel’s stick-swinging may cost him a couple of games as well. Now here’s a very interesting twist: the cap hits of suspended players remain on the books, so the Leafs, who were considering carrying just 21 players to stay in compliance, now face the challenge of making the numbers work while some good money sits on the sidelines.
• Sorting out that mess is only one of the headaches awaiting NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan this morning. He also has to deal with Vancouver’s Zack Kassian and the careless stick that broke Sam Gagner’s jaw (video).