John Scott already had sat out three games on an indefinite suspension following his Oct. 23 hit to Loui Eriksson’s head.
On Thursday, following an in-person disciplinary hearing, the NHL declared the Sabres enforcer ineligible for the next four games, as well.
“I’m never going to comment on what’s fair and what’s not,” said Chris Kelly. “I think the league does a good job of assessing penalties for certain hits. Our main concern is getting Loui back and making sure he’s healthy and back playing.”
In total, Scott will be suspended for seven games and fined $26,923.05. It is the second-longest suspension so far this season. The NHL suspended Patrick Kaleta, Scott’s teammate, for 10 games for a head shot on Columbus’s Jack Johnson. Kaleta appealed the suspension, which was upheld by commissioner Gary Bettman.
Eriksson missed his fourth straight game on Thursday because of the concussion he suffered as a result of the hit. Scott had delivered a blindside shoulder to Eriksson’s head during the third period of the Bruins’ 5-2 win.
“Although Eriksson is eligible to be checked on this play, he is not eligible to be checked in this fashion,” NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in his explanatory video.
Scott had never been suspended. The 6-foot-8-inch, 259-pound Scott most likely defended himself by noting the height difference between himself and Eriksson (6-2). Scott is credited with 217 career hits.
“While that works in Scott’s favor, it also takes away any argument on his part that illegal head contact on an opposing player is inevitable simply because he is 6-foot-8,” Shanahan said.
Eriksson will miss his fifth straight game on Saturday against the Islanders. It is unknown when he will resume skating.
“You let the league take care of things,” said coach Claude Julien. “That’s the decision that was made. We’ll live with it.”
At the start of the season, the Bruins had high hopes for their third line. But the unit’s recent offensive indifference chilled the organization’s optimism.
In their last three games, third-line forwards Carl Soderberg, Chris Kelly, and Jordan Caron submitted zeros across the board. After the threesome’s latest flat-line performance in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh, management had no choice but to recall Ryan Spooner from Providence.
“We need a little bit more speed right now, and we need a little bit more offense in our game,” Julien said. “Sometimes a new face in the lineup can certainly help bring that. He had a good camp. He showed his speed. He showed his ability to be creative offensively. Maybe that’s the kind of boost we need right now.”
On Thursday against the Ducks, Spooner centered the third line between Kelly and Soderberg. Caron was the healthy scratch.
Spooner recorded his first NHL assist on Soderberg’s second-period goal. Spooner cleared the zone with an outlet pass to Kelly. Spooner also landed two shots in 12:22 of ice time. Spooner skated on the No. 2 power-play unit.
Spooner was excellent during training camp. The second-year pro showcased his dynamic skating and soft hands. But the Bruins did not have an opening for Spooner at center to start 2013-14. Before his demotion, Spooner was instructed to improve on faceoffs, be stronger on the puck, and play with more bite.
“I was a little bit upset,” the 21-year-old Spooner said of the assignment. “But at the same time, I’m still young. I took a lot of positives from the camp. I just went down there and listened to what they told me, things to work on down there.”
Through eight games in Providence, Spooner had two goals and five assists.
Future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne, who plans to retire after this season, missed his final regular-season appearance at TD Garden. He will be sidelined for two weeks because of facial injuries suffered when Philadelphia’s Luke Schenn clipped him with an errant high stick on Tuesday. Selanne lost several teeth and required 40 stitches.
“Every day, he comes to the rink and he really has a passion for the game like you’ve never seen before,” said former Anaheim teammate Shawn Thornton. “He really enjoys the sport and showing up every day. His numbers speak for themselves, 600-plus goals. It’s unfortunate if this is his last year. You never know with him. He seems ageless. It’s unfortunate if Boston fans don’t get to see him on his way out because he got stuck in the face.”
Johnny Boychuk suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period when he crashed into the boards. Boychuk skated only three shifts for 2:01 of ice time in the second and didn’t return. The Bruins had to roll out a five-man rotation for the rest of the game . . . Zdeno Chara drew the penalty that led to his game-tying power-play goal. Chara was tripped by Patrick Maroon deep in the Boston zone . . . The Bruins killed all four of Anaheim’s power plays. They had allowed five power-play goals in their two previous games . . . The Bruins wore Red Sox World Series champion hats during warmups . . . Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch for the sixth straight game. Bartkowski will dress on Saturday if Boychuk is unable to play against the Islanders.