If the situation arose again, Dean Arsene would not hesitate to blow up an opponent, even if it meant taking a few lumps himself.
On Monday, the Edmonton Oilers defenceman drilled Minnesota Wild forward James Sheppard with a devastating hit in the first period, then had to face the wrath of six-foot-eight, 258-pound John Scott in an ensuing fight.
Scott came to the aid of Sheppard by jumping Arsene after the hit.
ďThatís easily the biggest guy thatís ever come after me,Ē Arsene said. ďIt was funny because after the hit, I went down on one knee and I saw out of the corner of my eye that someone was coming and I didnít know who it was. Then I stood up and saw that it was him, and had to look up at him. Heís a big man, thatís for sure.Ē
At six-foot-two, 195-pounds, Arsene was out of his weight class against Scott, who got the extra minor for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct for the mugging.
Arsene knew he was in trouble, when he landed the first punch and it didnít phase the Wild defenceman. Following the game, the 29 year old said he probably could have hit Scott with a baseball bat and not have made a dent.
ďI was trying to get a quick shot in, and I could hear a couple of guys on their bench shouting ĎHold on Deano, hold oní,Ē Arsene said. ďHeís a big man. That wasnít fun, thatís for sure. But I understand thatís part of the game and when I deliver hits like that, guys are going to come after me. I just have to try to hang in there and try not to take too bad of a beating.Ē
The hit was one of the brightest moments for Arsene since being called up from the Oilers AHL affiliate in Springfield. The Murrayville, B.C., native, who played junior hockey with the Edmonton Ice before the team relocated to Kootenay, had spent his entire professional career in the minors before getting a chance to play with the Oilers this season.
ďIt was a good hit, I guess Scottís doing what he was brought there to do,Ē said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. ďThatís that other part of the game now, good hits used to be good hits, and the way you get back is going to hit someone on their team, not fight. But thatís our game today I suppose and thatís what Scott has to do.Ē
Having failed to collect a point in his 10 games with the Oilers so far, Arsene needs to be a physical presence if he hopes to be more than just an emergency callup in the future.
Incidents like Mondayís against Scott canít discourage him from taking an opponent out when he gets the chance.
ďNo, thatís the way I play,Ē he said. ďIf I start thinking about that, and start worrying about that, itís going to take away from my game. I just have to just play the way I can. Whoever it is, whether itís a skilled guy or a third or fourth line guy, I have to finish my check and play hard. Those are the consequences of playing like that. Sometimes youíre going to take your lumps, but Iím not going to change my game.Ē