The veteran right winger who signed with the Maple Leafs
as an unrestricted free agent this summer left the bench to engage in a fight against the Buffalo Sabres and was automatically suspended 10 games Monday.
Clarkson stands to lose $507,692.21 as a result..
Clarkson did not speak with the media following Toronto's 5-3
victory over the Sabres at Air Canada Centre, but Leafs coach Randy Carlyle did.
"I think obviously we're not proud or happy with what went on, that's for sure," Carlyle said. "I think David Clarkson made a mistake and now we pay for it."
Carlyle said he didn't realize Clarkson had left the bench to join a line brawl. It all started when Buffalo's 6-foot-8 and 265-pound enforcer John Scott lined up against Toronto's top scorer, Phil Kessel. This was immediately following a fight between Toronto's Jamie Devane and Corey Tropp in which the Sabres player was bloodied and beaten up badly.
Kessel said Scott told him he was going to jump him when the puck was dropped. Kessel immediately backed away and then swung his stick at Scott baseball style.
"It was pretty stupid," Kessel said. "He said he was going to jump me. I just backed up. What are you going to do? He's a big boy and if he's coming after me, what am I going to do?"
A line brawl erupted and Kessel eventually paired up with Buffalo's Brian Flynn. Although he is known more as a sniper than a fighter, Kessel actually handled himself rather well.
"There's a lot of adrenaline out there," Kessel said. "You just do what you can do."
The craziness continued when the two starting goalies, Jonathan Bernier of the Leafs and Ryan Miller of the Sabres, met at centre ice for a scrap.
All told, there were 239 penalty minutes called in the game -- 122 to the Sabres and 117 to the Maple Leafs.
Kessel could also face supplemental discipline for his two slashes at Scott.
"I don't really have any comment on that," Kessel said. "We'll see."
Kessel said he was proud of his teammates for coming to his aid and told he thanked them all.
"We all stuck up for each other and that's how it has to go here," he said.
Carlye said when he saw the Sabres put Scott on the ice he tried to defuse the situation by putting out a line that included Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Carter Ashton. Of the trio only Ashton is known to play a physical game.
"I felt there was no threat to something more carrying on, but obviously I was wrong," Carlyle said.
Making a case to stay
The Bubble Boys were on their game Sunday night.
Both Ashton and Joe Colborne, who are in a dogfight trying to make the Maple Leafs, had solid games as each adjusts to the new roles that will hopefully keep them in the NHL. Both players have had success at the American Hockey League level playing as top-six forwards, but to stay with Toronto they will have to accept bottom-six minutes.
Ashton, a 6-foot-3 and 215-pound left winger, drew two assists in the Leafs' win Sunday and now had three helpers in four games. He has been playing more aggressively with each passing day as the deadline to name a final roster approaches.
Colborne, a 6-foot-5 and 213-pound centre has shown vastly improved skating ability and has also been playing with more of an edge. He had an assist against the Sabres; his first point in four pre-season games.
He would have to clear waivers to be sent to the Toronto Marlies and there is very little chance that would happen. In all likelihood he would be scooped by one of the NHL's bottom feeders. Ashton does now have to be put on waivers to be demoted.
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- Lupul back; Orr close: Left winger Joffrey Lupul looked good in his first pre-season game of the year. The veteran, who is one of the Maple Leafs' top snipers, missed the start of training camp because of back spasms. Tough guy Colton Orr, who has been out with a leg injury, is expected to play Tuesday when the Leafs host the Ottawa Senators.
- Bouncing bodie: If Troy Bodie is to make the Maple Leafs, he is going to be a hard-working, physical player. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds he has the size for the job description. That said, when he took a run at Buffalo's John Scott early in the first period, he merely bounced off his opponent. Scott, by the way, is 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds. Bodie later scrapped with Buffalo's Drew Bagnall and held his own landing a flurry of lefts to get the proceedings going.
- Franson contract woes: It would seem Cody Franson is going to have to come down in terms of both the money and number of years he is asking for if he is to get a contract done before the start of the season. Franson is looking for the type of money one would get by winning an arbitration case against his team and yet he elected not to go to arbitration. Also working against him is the fact the Maple Leafs are getting close to the cap. The better rookies Morgan Rielly and Andrew MacWilliam play, the less desperate the Maple Leafs are to sign Franson.