Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson faces an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench during a fight last night.
It all started mid-way through the third period when the Leafs 22-year-old tough-guy Jamie Devane (6’5″ – 217lbs.) dropped the mits with the smaller Corey Tropp (6’0″ – 185lbs.). Fighting out of his weight class, Tropp was knocked out and fell hard, hitting his head off of the ice. It was a scary scene for Sabres fans as Tropp had to be helped off of the ice.
On the ensuing faceoff the Maple Leafs sent out their skilled players, while Buffalo sent out the 6-foot-8 John Scott. As soon as the puck dropped Scott dropped his gloves in an attempt to fight Kessel. The Leafs sniper obviously wanted nothing to do with the much larger Scott and swung his stick at Scott’s legs as if he wear chopping down a tree. The rest of the Maple Leafs on the ice rushed to their stars’ defense and a line-brawl broke out. The most exciting for all hockey fans was when Jonathan Bernier skated out and took on Ryan Miller. For Miller, I think he found out in a quick hurry that the younger Bernier can throw them.
Lost in all the excitement of a line brawl and the first Maple Leafs’ goalie to fight since Felix Potvin was the actions of David Clarkson. The right winger who signed signed a seven-year, $36.5 million US deal with Toronto in the offseason left the bench to engage with Scott. Leaving the bench to join an altercation is an automatic 10-game suspension. We have already seen the Coyotes Paul Bissonnette fall victim to such a suspension.
“I think obviously we’re not proud or happy with what went on, that’s for sure,” Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said. “I think David Clarkson made a mistake and now we pay for it.”
Even more worrisome for the Leafs is that Kessel could also face supplementary discipline for his multiple slashes on Scott. It really all depends on how the NHL looks at. According to Kessel, Scott told him he was going to jump him as they lined up for the draw.
When the smoke cleared and the game finished a total of 239 penalty minutes were assessed. It was an unlikely scene for a pre-season game, but I think the incident reminds us all that the hockey season is just around the corner!
The fallout of all this is Clarkson’s fantasy value certainly takes a small hit when the suspension is handed down. Toronto is expecting big things from their new winger, but his regular season debut will be put on hold.
Editor’s Note: If you have not seen the footage of last night’s melee, it is on David Clarkson’s news page!