Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri said on Monday that he was about to go over the boards to join the melee in Sunday's game against Buffalo when teammate Joffrey Lupul pulled him back.
"It's tough especially when you see one of your friends and better players getting taken advantage of," explained Kadri. "Lupes actually had to kind of drag me back in the bench. I tried to get a hold of Clarky (David Clarkson) but he was kind of up and at it.
"Obviously (Clarkson) is a little bummed out, wishes things happened a little differently," said Kadri.
Clarkson is facing a 10-game suspension after he jumped over the boards to join a line brawl that saw Jamie Devane fight Corey Tropp, followed by a showdown between Phil Kessel and John Scott and eventually goalies Jonathan Bernier and Ryan Miller.
Kadri described the mood on the bench after the Devane-Tropp fight.
"We had a funny feeling that maybe something was going to happen but not nearly that."
Maple Leafs forward Joe Colborne said that once Scott started chasing Kessel, the Toronto bench was ready to take action.
"I think every single guy on our bench was looking to jump out there," explained Colborne.
Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said he didn't expect to witness the scene that unfolded.
"Obviously, I made a mistake [sending Kessel out] but I never believed in my wildest dreams the attack would be directed at [him]," said Carlyle. "This rarely happens any more ... when was the last time something like this happened?"
Kadri said that Kessel's stick-swinging as he was backing away from Scott was justified.
"It's self defence ... I'm actually surprised he didn't whack him a little higher," said Kadri.
Speaking at Sabres practice in Buffalo on Monday, Scott understood the uproar about the incident and directed some of the blame back at Carlyle.
"I'd be pissed off if someone went after my star guy too. It's one of those things their coach didn't have to put Kessel out with me."
On Kessel, Scott explained, "I've never seen a stick swing like that ... it was an even fight I guess if he had his stick. I didn't have anything."
Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf also weighed in on the situation.
"I thought for our team, to stick together the way that we did, that's something that we take pride in. The pre-season gets downplayed but there's still a lot of emotion," said Phaneuf.
Kadri also noted that when the Leafs face the Sabres on Nov. 15 in Buffalo, "that's probably going to be circled on a lot of people's calendars."
- With files from TSN Toronto reporter Mark Masters