Former NHL heavyweight John Scott holds no grudge against Phil Kessel
The only suspension of Phil Kessel’s 13-year NHL career came when he delivered a series of two-handed chops to former Buffalo Sabres heavyweight John Scott in a 2013 preseason game.
In an appearance on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast this week, Scott said he has no hard feelings.
Thinking one of his Sabres teammates had been taken advantage of in a fight earlier in the game, the 6-foot-8 Scott reportedly told Toronto coach Randy Carlyle that he would fight whoever was sent out to stand next to him off the next faceoff.
Carlyle thought he could diffuse the situation by sending out Kessel, a scorer who rarely fights.
He was wrong.
“He wasn’t saying anything. It was his coach who was saying everything,” Scott told the podcast. “Phil was an innocent bystander. He got caught between me and Randy Carlyle going at each other. Randy kind of threw him to the wolves there. That’s what happened.”
Scott immediately dropped his gloves and tried to fight Kessel, who responded with a series of lumberjack chops. A brawl that included a goalie fight ensued. Kessel was suspended for three preseason games.
“Have you ever been hit with a belt, like your mom’s belt when you’re growing up? Or a wooden spoon? It was like that,” Scott said. “I didn’t feel it at the time, but when I got in the locker room and the juices kind of died down, I was like, ‘What’s going on with my leg?’ There was a welt on my leg. He got me good.”
Scott’s goodwill did not extend to former Penguins enforcer Tom Sestito, however. He identified Sestito as his most hated opponent during his 10-year pro career.
“I don’t like him. I have never liked him,” Scott said. “I just don’t like how he plays the game. All through the AHL, I’d ask him to fight and he’d be like, ‘My hand’s broken,’ then he would fight someone else or this and that and he would duck me. The one time he did fight me was the time he tried to jump me from behind and tried to pull me down and wrestle me down. He wouldn’t square up with me.
“I know he’s a tough kid. I’ve seen him fight really tough guys. But for some reason, he just got under my skin one time. I don’t even like his face. I think he talks too much. He’s just that one guy that I don’t like. I’ve never met him or talked to him in my life. He’s probably a great guy. I just don’t like him.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .