The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced Friday that it will hold an in-person hearing with Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott on Thursday. Scott is being called in for his high hit on Boston Bruins star Loui Eriksson, who suffered a concussion on the play.
Since the hearing won't be held until Thursday and Scott is suspended indefinitely until a final ruling is reached, he will miss at least the Sabres' next three games. Those games will be included in any suspension levied by the league.
The Department of Player Safety has an awfully interesting case on its hands. Scott is known as an enforcer, but hasn't ever been suspended. It would be highly unlikely Scott will get the 10 games handed down to teammate Patrick Kaleta, a repeat offender, but highly probable it's going to be six or more.
Though he has the reputation as a goon, there's a difference between fighter and cheap-shot artist. Scott isn't known as the latter. Will his goon reputation be factored in, though? Or perhaps the league will put some weight on the preseason altercation Scott sparked by challenging Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel? Even though an infraction was clearly committed, the outside factors make this a tad more interesting than most other hearings so far.
This was perhaps one of the most high-profile hits that rose to the level of supplementary discipline this year. Based on the debate this has generated in the last few days, no punishment is as anticipated as this one will be.
That makes it all that much harder to predict just how severely Brendan Shanahan and company will come down. If there's one thing that has been clear, the league is cracking down hard on hits to the head, which indisputably, Scott's hit was.
Ryan Garbutt's five-game suspension after his high hit on Dustin Penner might be a measuring stick here, but don't be surprised if the NHL throws a few extra games in for good measure.