David Clarkson suspended 10 games for leaving Maple Leafs’ bench during brawl

David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs had his automatic 10-game suspension confirmed by the NHL on Monday, after he was given a game misconduct penalty during the Leafs’ brawl with the Buffalo Sabres in Sunday.

From the NHL:

At 10:01 of the third period, Clarkson was assessed a game misconduct penalty under Rule 70.6, which states: “A game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on the player who was the first or second player to leave the players’ or penalty bench during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation, from either or both teams.”

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.”

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Clarkson will forfeit $269,230.80. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

So Clarkson, the Leafs’ prized free-agent signing in the summer, won’t play for the team until Oct. 25, missing over 12 percent of the season because he hopped the boards to save Phil Kessel.

Granted, by the time Clarkson hit the ice, Kessel had already been helped out by TJ Brennan and Carter Ashton. He didn’t need Clarkson on the ice, what with the two-handed lumberjack chops he was taking on Scott. But Clarkson arrived, an unwelcome cavalry, and now he’s banned until Oct. 26 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While Clarkson’s being called “selfish” in the Toronto media for his ill-timed actions, let’s be honest here: This suspension is on Randy Carlyle.

He’s the one that made the self-admitted “mistake” of lining up Kessel against a hungry Doberman named John Scott, who was looking to pummel anything in a Leafs sweater after watching his teammate get KO’d in a fight on their previous shift. Clarkson came off his bench to join the fray as protection.

He doesn’t do that if Carlyle sends out a player who could physically engage Scott – rather than, you know, the franchise’s best offensive player and least likely fighter.

Carlyle said Clarkson made a mistake, but hey, coaches make mistakes, too; only they don’t sit out for 10 games when they happen.