Matt Kassian is under no delusion as to why he was brought into the Senators organization earlier this week. He is here to provide protection and ensure that the Senators do not get pushed around.
According to hockeyfights.com, Kassian has 93 fights in his pro career over 6 seasons at the NHL, AHL and ECHL level. He is 6’6″, 225 lbs and has 9 regular season NHL fights in 28 games.
No doubt Kassian will be looking to make a first impression should he get into the lineup today against Buffalo. How he makes that impression will go a long way to determining how Sens fans respond to his presence. Does he go after Buffalo’s resident tough guy, John Scott, or does he wait until a weasel like Patrick Kaleta (too bad he is still suspended) or Steve Ott start taking liberties with Ottawa players and tune them up?
Whether or not you are a fan of the fisticuffs and staged fighting, odds are you will see some of it this afternoon.
There is little doubt that Kassian will be in the lineup, since this is the exact type of situation that Bryan Murray brought him in for. He will likely go after Scott first opportunity he gets, to send a message to his new team and their fans. Whether he wins or loses that fight, it will show that he is here to do his job. That is all well and good, but the true test will be how he reacts when the inevitable rats on the Sabres strike. Taking Ott to the woodshed after a bit of stickwork or a dirty hit would send a message to the rest of the league that the Senators won’t be pushed around any more.