B's frustrated by Scott hit on Eriksson

B's frustrated by Scott hit on Eriksson
October 24, 2013, 12:00 am
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Loui Eriksson struggles to get to his feet after taking an elbow to the head from John Scott.

(USA Today Sports)

BUFFALO – The Bruins cruised to a 5-2 victory over a pitiful Buffalo Sabres team on Wednesday night at the First Niagara Center, but it might have come at a hefty cost.

Loui Eriksson was knocked out of the game with less than six minutes to go in the third period when he was clobbered by a dirty blind-side elbow from Buffalo goon John Scott after the 6-foot-8 behemoth had lined him up in the neutral zone. Eriksson had released the puck from his stick in a clearing pass for at least a couple of seconds before Scott landed an elbow to the Swedish forward’s jaw, and knocked him out of the game for the remainder of the third period.

A source has told CSNNE.com that Eriksson will be staying behind in Buffalo for observation while the Bruins fly home to Boston to prepare for the game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. Keeping a player off a team flight after a hit to the head is normally a precaution when dealing with a concussion, though nothing has been determined about Eriksson's condition at this point.

Scott wasn’t playing the puck, and clearly had the intention of going in high on Eriksson as he took his slow skating strides through the neutral zone.

After the game Bruins, coach Claude Julien didn’t have much of an update on Eriksson’s condition, though it was pretty evident what the Bruins might be dealing with after a clear blow to the head. The similarities to the Matt Cooke hatchet job on Marc Savard from four years ago were eerie and more than a little troubling.

"Obviously if he didn't come back [in the game] it's serious enough,” said Julien. “We'll probably find out more, right now we're giving trainers some space to deal with all that stuff.”

Scott was given a five-minute major for charging and a fighting minute major for fighting Adam McQuaid in the aftermath of the despicable hit, and left an infuriated group of Bruins personnel in his wake. What was probably most frustrating: the B’s might lose a potentially key player in Eriksson if he’s injured, and the Sabres will lose a 6-foot-8 waste of hockey space that can’t skate, pass or shoot well enough to justify his roster spot.

“The referees called it the way everybody saw it. It’s unfortunate. The guy who did it did his job tonight,” Julien said. “He’s there for two reasons, and that’s either to fight or to hurt…he did his job tonight.

“It’s disappointing that a key player gets hurt. I know there is history here, but it’s a guy [in Scott] that plays about two or three minutes a game, and he targets one of our best players with that kind of thing. It’s something I’m sure people will use as a [Ryan] Miller example. I’m not sure [Milan] Lucic is a three minute guy, but whatever…it’s unfortunate.”

Clearly there is some connection between the hit on Wednesday night and Lucic clobbering Miller two years ago. That incident is the very reason that Scott has been drawing a paycheck in Buffalo for the last two years, but that’s where the comparisons end. The elbow to a defenseless player’s head is exactly the kind of hit the NHL is attempting to legislate out of the game, and Scott was already on the NHL Department of Player Safety’s radar after his preseason line brawl incident with Phil Kessel.

So, Scott did his ruthless job, and now it’s up to Brendan Shanahan and his co-workers in the NHL offices to do their job and throw the book at a player that clearly doesn’t know what “the code” is all about.