David Clarkson said he will not appeal his 10-game
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
"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."
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- 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
- 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."