BUFFALO — Growing up in nearby St. Catharines, Ont., John Scott loved crossing the border and watching the Sabres play at Memorial Auditorium and HSBC Arena.
His father’s boss had season tickets, so every couple of weeks he’d make the 30-minute trip to the Queen City.
“I grew up a pretty big Sabres fan,” the 6-foot-8, 270-pound tough guy told the Times Herald by phone Sunday night, shortly after inking a one-year, $600,000 contract with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency.
Like a lot of other locals, Scott loved former Sabres Dominik Hasek and Brad May.
He also enjoyed saying the funny names of Buffalo’s suburbs.
“Lackawanna, Tonawanda, Cheektowaga,” Scott recalled. “I was really young, so I just liked that part of it.”
Scott, as Sabres fans should see, has a fun-loving side. He’s also a Michigan Tech-educated mechanical engineer, so he’s usually the smartest guy in the dressing room.
Don’t let his brains or personality fool you, though.
He’s one mean customer on the ice.
“He’s just so tough, no one will ever fight him,” said Ben Hankinson, Scott’s agent.
Scott, who Hankinson claims has never been beaten in his 25 NHL fights, knows he’s feared around the NHL. The 29-year-old believes he’s a complete presence, however.
“I kind of can fill a couple voids. I can play defense. I can play forward,” Scott said. “The last couple years I’ve been predominantly playing forward. I kind of go wherever they want to put me in there. Yeah, I think I’m a prototypical tough guy. I can protect my teammates if that needs to be done.
“I can play, too. I think I’ve proven myself. I can make a decent pass and get on the forecheck. As a defenseman, I can defend pretty well. I’m not just out there to be a goon.”