NHL tonight suspended Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson for 10 games after Clarkson left the bench to join an on-ice altercation Sunday night in the Leafs' preseason game in Toronto against the rival Buffalo Sabres.
Clarkson left the bench with 10 minutes remaining in the third period after Buffalo tough guy John Scott, who is 6-8, started a fight with Toronto's Phil Kessel, who is 6-feet and not a fighter. Scott apparently had been incensed after Toronto's 6-5 Jamie Devane had beaten up the much smaller Corey Tropp.
Kessel swung his stick at Scott -- and he will likely get suspended, as well -- and that set off a brawl between the teams that included a goalie fight between Toronto's Jonathan Bernier and Buffalo's Ryan Miller. Clarkson left the bench to get involved, triggering an automatic 10-game suspension under NHL rules.
The suspension is mandated by Rule 70.10, which states: "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 without pay for the next 10 regular League and/or playoff games of his team."
The suspension is without pay, and based on his average annual salary, Clarkson will forfeit $269,230.80. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Clarkson will be eligible to return to the Maple Leafs’ lineup on Oct. 25 at Columbus.