John Scott Cannot Protect Tomas Hertl

What’s the famous quote? “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind?” Most commonly attributed to Mahatma Ghandi, someone should lend Todd McLellan and Doug Wilson a book of proverbs. John Scott was brought in to San Jose to counter the brutal and physical play of opponents, most likely the Los Angeles Kings. Or so they say. But, John Scott and goons like him will not work in San Jose, or anywhere else in the league.

The Myth of the Enforcer

john scott
(Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Having a big man that can drop the gloves on your bench is not going to stop someone else from taking a cheap shot at your superstar winger. Heck, what is to stop Dustin Brown from taking another leg to Tomas Hertl this season? Is John Scott going to skate right next to Hertl all night? Probably not, he can’t possibly skate that fast. And even if he does go after Brown after he takes Hertl out for the season, if he injures Brown, then he gets suspended!

The logistics of a goon actually deterring someone from is complicated. The mere presence of a guy who might beat you up is supposed to keep you from getting into the head of that superstar who keeps lighting you up. Every player that makes it to the NHL has been hit before. It really doesn’t scare them that much to get hit. So, what value does the enforcer bring? None.

Outlook on John Scott Not Good

The Sharks have had their second scrimmage and John Scott has already made a headline. It wasn’t a good one. While a coach will put spin on the story to say that this type of play brings energy to a club, this is not true. I can guarantee you that a slash to the back of the legs is never “energy” and isn’t a positive by any stretch of the imagination. A fight with your own squad is just that, a fight.

What will hurt San Jose even more is the number of roster spots available for Team Teal. Todd McLellan already employs Mike Brown (who actually does even less than Scott) and Adam Burish (when he’s healthy). These guys take away spots from Tyler Kennedy, Freddie Hamilton, and maybe some of the rookies. An enforcer plays about 6 or 7 minutes per game, and those are hardly productive minutes.

john scott
We don’t need to see this in San Jose (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

At the end of the day, it comes down to the comparison to the more “popular” goon, Raffi Torres. The major difference comes from the fact that Torres actually knows what that piece of wood in his hand is called. (Hint: a stick). Torres is a threat to score. He hits people who have the puck and he usually does it legally. He is a forechecker, not an agitator. With Torres on the ice, every inch the opponent moves is earned.

The Sharks Already Have the Answer to Dirty Plays

Remember back to the early days of last season. The Sharks were matched up against the St. Louis Blues in what many were calling a battle of major contenders. In that game, Dan Boyle was brought down by a dirty hit. He would be sidelined for multiple weeks. But the Sharks didn’t respond with a slew of dirty hits right back. Sure, there was a fight right after that, but that was the end of things. Moreover, a player with offensive upside, Andrew Desjardins, stepped in to fight for his teammate. If our fourth line center, who had 17 points, can drop the gloves for us, why do we need an enforcer that will hardly even touch the puck?

What did they do instead? They lit up the scoreboard. They shamed the Blues right out of their own building. This is the way you deal with dirty play in the NHL. It is a shame the Sharks have turned away from that. Hopefully, this is just an experiment and soon enforcers will no longer have a place our beloved game.

Edited to more accurately explain how the Sharks responded to Lapierre’s hit on Boyle

39 thoughts on “John Scott Cannot Protect Tomas Hertl”

  1. “Maybe John Scott should beat the shit out of Joe Thornton and see if he can get some fire in his belly.”
    This is classic !! No truer words have been spoken. Sharks waste all their energy trying to be tough and forget they’re playing hockey.

  2. You are completely wrong on this one John Scott’s presence will protect every player on the Sharks whether he plays 6 mins or no minutes. Although the Sabres were a terrible team the last two years the Big Bad Bruins stopped taking cheap shots and Milan Lucic was virtually invisible physically after they signed Scott. No big hits no fights.

    • Shame that Lucic still scored 7 points and had 8 PIM in the games against Buffalo. And Scott had 41 minutes in the box. Almost 7 times as many as his total time on ice

  3. Scott is unfairly judged just because he’s so big. I watched every game he played in Chicago. He was not a “dirty” player. He skated away from more fights than he had. Raffe Torres is the poster boy for “dirty players”. He’s the slime that blindsides guys with hits to the head putting them out of the lineup for several games. THAT’S DIRTY. Two willing combatants dropping gloves is not. To my knowledge Shawn Thorton is the only guy that missed games due to a John Scott Fight. AS for Lou Erickson Scott said he didn’t target the head and I believe him. That was Scott’s ONLY suspension. You can debate whether or not fights accomplish anything. John Scott never wanted anything more than to be a stay at home defenseman. In Chicago they said he was one of the hardest workers in practice. And he’s no dummy, either. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was a goon in Buffalo because that’s what Lindy Ruff told him to do. Debate fighting in the NHL all you want, but give John Scott the human being a chance.

    • lol, Dustin Brown has kneed guys his whole career, that wasn’t an accident. If it were a rare occurrence that is one thing, but he does that all the time. It’s amazing how he hardly ever gets punished for it

    • Really? Dustin Brown is the poster boy for dirty hits, he just knows how to make it look like he tried to get out of the way so he won’t get suspended, and I do know that for a fact. Coaches teach players like Brown how to get away with it, every hockey coach does

  4. Dustin Brown did not intentionally try and hurt Hertl. Missed his check and caught him with leg. Very unfortunate. Enforcers are part of the game still. Last night Scott went to blows with a Canuck player. Afterwards he patted him on the butt and said good job. Its just part of the game still and as long as the fans want it so be it. Having Scott on the ice or bench will deter other teams.

  5. Such blatant nonsense. Watch Lucic do nothing to Hertl when Scott is on the ice against Boston. Big man = protection. It’s always worked that way and will continue.

  6. Boohoo Sharks fans! Dustin Brown has been suspended all of one time in his career. It is so ironic watching Sharks fans complain about Brown when they employ one of the dirtiest players in the league. As far as Scott goes, one guy isn’t going to make the Sharks a tough team. They are a group of heartless players and it starts with their (former) captain. Maybe John Scott should beat the shit out of Joe Thornton and see if he can get some fire in his belly.

  7. Chemistry AND Politics? Like they go together. And an aspiring journalist as well. A real Renaissance guy. Hope you’re good at one of them at least. Obviously the notion of a staged 20 second shirt grabbing tussle with a few off balance punches landed as a “deterrent” is ridiculous. A deterrent is what Dave Schultz used to do, or Eddie Shore, or even Todd Bertuzzi. A psychopathic willingness to hurt someone so bad it might leave them a cripple or brain dead. Like Shawn Thornton tried to do but wasn’t psycho enough to finish. And not necessarily directed at the role player who injured your guy but at the other team’s best player. Obviously this can’t happen in a civilized society but the notion of “punishing them on the scoreboard” is just silly. Lapierre is still a dirty psycho and Boyle was never the same again. And those Sharks sure showed Stoll and the Kings after he took out their guy who was best at initiating the quick transition game that was so successful in beating the Kings in the early games. I don’t think they scored another goal after that.

    • Hi Thomas, thanks for your read and feedback. No, my two degrees had little to nothing to do with each other, but they were the subjects I wanted to learn and study. I wouldn’t trade them for anything

  8. there are a lot of guys on here claiming to know it all… i played with scott for 3 years and was his roommate for 3 years… when he is on the ice, the other team knows it, they think about it… they wont do stupid things when they know Scott can protect his players.. So guys like “andrew bensch” needs to shut up. If you havent played with him or against him, you have as much knowledge as dirt..

    • Easy to talk tough with an alias. There is a reason guys like Scott are becoming extinct. With the instigator penalty, nobody has to worry about answering to a fight. Brown skated away when Wingles asked him to go the following game after the hertl injury. Scott is not going to fight skilled players. His fights are with other guys who can only fight, that serve no purpose. Studies have shown having that type of player doesn’t help prevent injuries or win games.

  9. Kenneth you beat me to it, i had to do a double take when i saw your title, i was going to use pretty much the exact same title! Darn you! lol

  10. This article is spot on. When you bring in a guy who can barely skate; you bring a guy who’s known as a “tough guy”, you are asking for trouble. There is a certain amount of intimidation, checking, and “I am tougher than you” involved in our favorite sport. But there is no place for planned retribution (has Todd Bertuzzi taught us nothing?) Scott is fairly brainless and is all artificial testosterone. He is not even that good a fighter. And he certainly does not have the upside that Todd Bertuzzi has/had.
    This has all the makings of a tragic storyline or two this season. #Boneheadedmanagementdecisions.

    • Hey Kevin, thanks for the read and feedback. There are a few studies that actually illustrate the lack of effectiveness that enforcers provide. It is sad that a lot of fans are still riled up from these fights to where guys like these can still get ice time

  11. Scott shouldn’t be an enforcer that acts as a threat, but one that is willing to risk suspension for retribution and that’s where he’s going to fit in. The Sharks need a dirty player to add something new to their reputation, which here means having a player regarded as a goon — because he is. Torres has been remade, so he can’t do that anymore, but Scott can.

    Mike Brown can hold it down in terms of being rough all the time while Scott will be the Kraken, unleashed only when called upon.

    • Brown, Scott. Burish, all get scored on at a significantly higher rate than they help score goals. Scott should never sniff the ice when guys like dustin brown are out there.

  12. I will take John Scott over Tyler Kennedy or Freddie Hamilton any day. Hockey is still a tough sport that can depend on intimidation, fear and fights. Not if guys like you have anything to do with it..If you want to see guys like Kennedy and Hamilton put in 6 goals a season for over 2 million dollars and bring nothing else that’s a poor choice.

    • You sir are in denial, there is too much talent in this league to waste ice time on guys who can’t play. There is absolutely no evidence that shows tough guys like Scott help save injuries or help win games.

    • Hey Brendan, thanks for the read and feedback. Six goals is worth plenty more than 150+ PIM to me with six minutes of ice time.

  13. Raffi Torres is as goonish as they come and after his hit on Hossa following his hit on Seabrook should have been kicked out of the league. Fortunately karma stepped in and now he’s an injury prone has been.

    • Hey Steve, thanks for the read and feedback. Torres may have a rough history behind him, but his offensive production will help win games. Scott doesn’t have the offensive upside

  14. …while I honestly prefer good clean, solid, hard hitting hockey there’s a part of me that would like to see new shark john scott come out during dustin brown’s first shift in that initial cup celebration game at staples, plunge his hand through browns chest, rip his beating heart out & devour it at center ice & then tear his twitching, soon to be lifeless body limb from limb, throwing the four appendages to stunned kings fans on the glass, just to, you know, make a point about brown’s “accidental” but injurious hits…
    …tomas hertl has not been the only player to suffer from browns play…

    …other than that, i’m glad hockey is back & gee whiz, I hope I don’t come across as too heavy handed…

    • Thanks for the read and the feedback. I definitely appreciated the vivid picture of the new season. I am aware that Hertl isn’t the only victim, but he is the main focus in terms of who needs protection. That was the reason why I used him as the poster child

    • Heavy handed? Nooooo, I wouldn’t say that bikesgonewild, heheh.

      The Sharks, for one reason or another, have been pushed around in the recent past. I don’t care for the fights and prefer the skill game but by itself without a toughness component it hasn’t made San Jose cup-worthy. You can’t rely on the zebras to control the game so it’s time to employ a bit of the old-fashioned approach.

  15. …desjardin is a solid young hockey player & tough kid who’s more than willing to step in for his teammates as he did immediately after the lapierre hit on boyler but the real issue was danny boyle’s first game back against the blues…
    …the online speculation & talk around the league was all about how either the sharks brownie or desi were gonna make max lapierre & the blues pay for his cheap shot & instead, the tealsters came out & just kept lighting up that red goal lamp…
    …there was not a hint of nasty intimidation & while my first reaction was – “cool, this is how to make ’em pay…”, ultimately it might not be so bad for a team with the sharks reputation of turning the other cheek against physical intimidation to just let other teams know that if you wanna play nasty, we’ll take you up on that…
    …being the least penalized team in the league, admirable as that is, doesn’t scare anybody…

  16. I have to assume the “fight” that didn’t come after the Boyle hit is meant to mean the Sharks didn’t sink down and board every player who stepped on the ice. Because there was immediate backlash after the hit

    • Hey Marc, thanks for the read and feedback. I did mean that, but it should come out and say that blatantly. I’m glad that was understood, but I did go back and make a more clear picture of what I meant.

  17. Tyler Kennedy ? Freddie Hamilton ? Please. Kennedy saw almost no ice time when it became obvious that he couldn’t contribute. Hamilton is not ready, and may never be, he’s nowhere near as good as his brother. Scott may not have a lot of talent but he brings a presence to this team that is sorely lacking in grit/heart. Maybe he’s here to goad his teammates into having some balls. Who else on this team shows any besides Scott and Brown ? Only Desjardins and Wingels, so that’s 4 out of the whole team. Fighting may get eliminated but there is still a place for players who stick up for their teammates .
    If you bother to watch any Sharks games, you would see that Brown is very much like Torres, he makes other teams earn their ice. He’s fast, takes the body, and can contibute with a goal or an assist at times. it makes me sick to watch Shark players get run every game with only tepid or no response. Maybe this is what will turn that around for the Sharks. They need the balls !

    • Mike Brown wishes he could contribute like Torres does. Look at their career numbers, Brown isnt even half the player Torres is. Grit doesn’t win hockey games, offense and defense win hockey games.

    • Randy, you are correct. Marc, up above states what I would say. I look back and see the obvious oversight. I did in fact mean the Sharks didn’t stoop to dirty play. Desi took Lapierre to task for the dirty hit. But Desi is already on the roster, so it would seem the Sharks have all they need in that department without John Scott

      Thanks for the read and the feedback!

Comments are closed.