Casey Nelson wishes things went differently Saturday afternoon in Denver. Most of all, he wishes he had a better view of Nikita Zadorov's high hit on Jack Eichel because he says that would have prompted a different reaction from him.
Nelson has endured a boatload of criticism for his lack of reaction to the play, where he simply skated over and stood next to Zadorov while Eichel was on the ice. Moments later, Marco Scandella and Sam Reinhart jumped the Colorado defenseman and Jeff Skinner tried to get in the fray as well before he was cut off by Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen.
"I feel totally different after I saw the hit because I didn't know he got hit in the head," Nelson said after the Sabres' optional morning skate today. "I don't have the seven camera angles. I was the only one directly behind him so I didn't actually see that he got hit in the head. That's all I'm going to say there. I didn't sleep that night after I saw the video."
Nelson was a healthy scratch Tuesday against Dallas, with coach Phil Housley saying the lack of reaction on the play was discussed with him.
"That's pretty much all I've thought about the past number of days," Nelson said. "There's not a lot I can do about it other than I can tell you that my response wouldn't have been the same if I knew he got hit in the head."
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Nelson said he simply saw Eichel on the ice and had no idea what had transpired. Zadorov came in late after a whistle for offsides and hit Eichel high, pulling the Buffalo center's helmet off his head.
"I was looking through three guys too so it's not like I could see everything. It sucks, you know what I mean? There's not a lot I can do," Nelson said. "There's nothing I can do other than I know it will never happen again. It's something I didn't see.
"Everyone makes mistakes. I didn't see it. It's just what happens. I can tell you've probably made a mistake here and there in your life too. That sucks when you have to deal with it."
Nelson will be back in the lineup for tonight's game against Pittsburgh as Zach Bogosian (upper body) will remain out after not practicing yesterday or taking the optional morning skate today.