New Jersey Devils: David Clarkson's Decision to Return to North America Another Indication that He is Captain Material

By Steve Palumbo
Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson has decided to return home to North America after playing just five games with EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Hockey League.

“I came over here to get into shape and to train, but I didn’t come over here to take some guy’s job when he has two kids or three kids. So, that’s the decision I have to make. I haven’t left yet, but I told the team I’ve really enjoyed it here, it’s been a fantastic place to play, but I didn’t want to take anyone’s job,” Clarkson said.

It was speculated that perhaps Clarkson and fellow NHL player Tobias Enstrom had a falling out with Red Bull head coach Pierre Page. An accusation that Clarkson quickly dismissed. “It has nothing to do with the coach at all,” Clarkson said. “ I’ve enjoyed playing for the organization.”

Although Clarkson has not formerly informed Red Bull management that he does not intent to return, it seems to be nothing more than a formality at this point. The Austrian Hockey League is on a 12-day break right now and have to have their rosters set by Nov. 12. When that list comes out, don’t expect to see Clarkson’s name on it.

For once a professional athlete opts to take the higher road and turn down the easy cash for the sanctity of his own principals. To me, Clarkson sounds adamant about not wanting to have any part of stealing another mans job or the food off his family’s table. This is another prime example of how much Clarkson has matured as a player and human being. Not only did he have a career year on the ice, one could argue that he’s had a career year off the ice too. He has become a fantastic spokesperson for the Devils and true candidate for the teams vacant captaincy.

Rarely does he say anything offensive or embarrassing to his hockey club and another reason why he shares the Devils’ player-representative responsibilities with veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador.

Clarkson signed with EC Red Bull on Oct. 24 and had just two goals and one assist in his brief stint with the team.

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