Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel regretted his decision to swing his stick at Buffalo Sabres enforcer John Scott during the two teams’ preseason brawl Sunday that resulted to a three-game suspension.
“It happened so quick, you can slow it down and that makes it look worse. . . . Obviously I shouldn’t have done the second whack. But it happened so fast, you react,” said Kessel, who will sit the Maple Leafs’ final three preseason games.
Scott, the largest enforcer in the league at 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds, admitted he challenged the Leafs forward to a scrap following a previous fight during Sunday’s game. The mismatch prompted Kessel to swing his stick at Scott.
A melee followed — Leafs David Clarkson left the Leafs bench to join the brawl — and Kessel wound up swinging his stick at Scott a second time, then jabbing him with his stick in the mid-section.
Clarkson received a heavier penalty as he was suspended for the first ten games of the regular season.
“I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do in a situation like that. I shouldn’t have done the second whack. Looking at it it’s uncalled for, but I don’t know what else I was supposed to do,” Kessel said.
“If they get put in that situation, see what they do. I think a lot of people can criticize that, but let’s see what they do against a guy like that,” he said, adding that he felt somewhat fortunate his suspension was light in comparison to Clarkson.
“Obviously, it’s never good to get suspended but it happened, you gotta move on. “I got three pre-season games, I’m happy there’s no regular season games, it happens,” Kessel said.