Maple Leafs' David Clarkson won't appeal 10-game suspension | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMaple Leafs' David Clarkson won't appeal 10-game suspension

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | 11:02 PM

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Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson Clarkson was suspended by the NHL for 10 games, but was still eligible to play against the Ottawa Senators in pre-season action Tuesday night. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press) Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson Clarkson was suspended by the NHL for 10 games, but was still eligible to play against the Ottawa Senators in pre-season action Tuesday night. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

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David Clarkson said he will not appeal his 10-game suspension for leaving the bench Sunday night to become involved in a fight, writes Mike Brophy. The Maple Leafs right-winger will miss the first 10 games of the 2013-14 regular season and will be eligible to re-join the Maple Leafs Oct. 25 in Columbus.

David Clarkson said he will not appeal his 10-game suspension for leaving the bench Sunday night to become involved in a fight.

The Maple Leafs right-winger will miss the first 10 games of the 2013-14 regular season and will be eligible to re-join the Maple Leafs Oct. 25 in Columbus.

Before answering questions from the media, Clarkson apologized for not being available the past two days. He said he wanted to wait until he heard from the NHL about the suspension and he did not want to be a distraction to his teammates.

"In every situation you look at your options and see what you can and cant do, but I'm not going to appeal," Clarkson said. "I'm going to take this one. I think it's over with and it's something you put behind you. I'm going to work hard in practice and push these guys in the first 10 games to be better. I'm going to do what they wanted when they brought me here."

When asked what was going through his mind when he left the bench to help Phil Kessel who had been jumped by six-foot-eight, 270-pound John Scott of the Buffalo Sabres, Clarkson said: "I think I sometimes make decisions with my heart and not my head. I saw a teammate that I felt was in trouble and my reaction was to help. That was my mindset going in and I was just going into help settle things down. That was the intent.

"My teammates in here come first to me. That's what got me here and that's how it has been during my career. That's just the person I am."

Clarkson said he never considered not going to help Kessel even though he knew doing so would draw an automatic 10-game suspension.

"It's like if you have a little brother and you feel like he's in trouble or you feel like there's a situation where you can help, that was the feeling I had in my belly," he said. "I have to pay the consequences for it, but that was the feeling, to go out and help or calm down a situation."

'Heart and soul guy'

Clarkson said his teammates have been very supportive of him, which helps ease the pain of missing the first 10 games with his new team.

"Clarkie is a player's player - a heart and soul guy," said goaltender James Reimer. "What he did, the bare bones of it is he stuck up for his teammate. He saw someone who was a hundred pounds heavier and a foot taller than arguably our most skilled player and his natural instinct was to protect him.

"That's the kind of guy I want on my team. That's the kind of guy I want on the ice. When you look back on it, it sucks and it really sucks that he's gone for 10 games because we need him, but that's the guy I want playing for me. That's the guy who, I know if I'm in trouble, he's coming to help me out."

  • The goalie battle: If Jonathan Bernier thinks James Reimer is just going to hand him the starter's job with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he'd better think again. And if fans think he'll roll over while Bernier steals his job, they have another thing coming, too. "I was the starter here last year and I had no intention of giving up the job whether they brought in Bernier, Henrik Lundqvist or someone who had never played an NHL game before," Reimer said. "I come in here and I try to work hard and battle and more import than the competition or the battle, whatever you want to call it, is too give the guys a chance to win hockey games. The battle, sure it's there and we're both fighting for the same thing, but that's secondary to what we really want." Reimer, who has suffered through a couple of troubling seasons mainly because of injuries, played superbly Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators in which the Maple Leafs were outshot 37-28. Reimer was especially good in the first two periods when he made four breakaway saves.
  • The goals: 1. James van Riemsdyk makes it 1-0 roofing the puck from in tight. Talk about hands of goal. 2. Ottawa's Zack Smith ties it 1-1 beating Reimer through the five-hole (or 5.2-hole as Reimer calls it because of the streamlined equipment). 3. Reimer makes a great save on Ottawa's Corey Cowick, but the puck bounces in off Jim O'Brien's skate to make it 2-1 for the Senators. 4. Mark Stone's turn-and-fire long shot hits s skate and bounces to teammate Colin Greening who easily beats Reimer to make it 3-1. 5. The Leafs draw to within one when Dion Phaneuf connects after a nifty pass from Joffrey Lupul on a two-on-one.
  • Only in the NHL: Clarkson was suspended by the NHL for 10 games, yet there he was playing for the Maple Leafs Tuesday night. Since his suspension was automatic, the league decided he would be allowed to continue playing pre-season games. On some weird level, it actually makes sense. Clarkson did not throw any punches in the melee and was really trying to break up a fight between six-foot-eight John Scott of the Buffalo Sabres and six-foot Phil Kessel. The NHL's sheriff, Brendan Shanahan, told cbcsports.ca that Clarkson is allowed to continue playing because according to the NHL rule book players leaving the bench to fight are only suspended for regular season or playoff games. Rule 70.10 reads:  "The first player to leave the players' or penalty bench illegally during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation from either or both teams shall be suspended for the next 10 regular league and/or playoff games of his team." Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said Clarkson would play the final two pre-season games against Detroit.
  • Speaking of Kessel: The Maple Leafs top sniper was suspended for the final three pre-season games for his double slash on Scott. Actually, Kessel has been quite liberal with his stick during the exhibition season so it was probably an accumulation of his combined stick work that earned him the suspension. The only thing worse would have been a one-game suspension. "He's not going to be able to play anymore so now he's going to really practice hard," said coach Randy Carlyle.
  • Oops: Centre Joe Colborne is doing his best to earn a full-time job with the Toronto Maple Leafs so perhaps coughing up the puck in the defensive zone and allowing the Senators to break in alone is not the best strategy. Luckily goalie James Reimer baled him out with a save on Ottawa's Andre Petersson. Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle does not take kindly to defensive miscues.
  • No comment: Carlyle was asked if the three-game suspension to Kessel was fair and offered, "I don't make comments on what's fair and what's not fair. I let the experts make those calls because I've been fined before for my criticism of what happens at the league and my wife told me to shut my mouth."
  • It's the players' room: Carlyle said he and his assistant coaches do not spent much time in the players' dressing room. "We go in and deliver our message and we have our fair share of meetings, but we're not in the room to overhear what is taking place. I never really liked coaches in my playing days to spend a tremendous amount of time in the room."

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