Already discussed from the ugly brawls that took place during the preseason game between Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs last Sunday was the ridiculous suspension given to Phil Kessel. Despite attempting to use his stick as a weapon (twice), he was only suspended for three preseason games. Some would consider this free vacation for being an idiot.
This incident and the goalie brawl between Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier weren’t the only nasty aspects of what should’ve been a tame preseason scrimmage. Leafs forward David Clarkson caught the ire of the NHL discipline crew for leaving the bench during a team-wide fight. As soon as the spat between Kessel and Sabres goon John Scott kicked off, Clarkson jumped onto the ice from the bench, throwing his gloves off and joining in on the fight.
In the end, it was a teammate seeing an ugly situation and trying to help defend Kessel. However, when you come off the bench to do so, its a huge no-no with the league. Clarkson’s punishment was no joke, as he was suspended for ten games. He’ll have to wait until at least October 25 to make his season debut, when the Leafs take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Often, when suspensions of this magnitude are dished out, players sometimes attempt to defend themselves with an appeal. Clarkson, though, won’t be taking this route, telling Sportsnet that he’ll accept his punishment.
“I sometimes make decisions with my heart, not my head,” he said. ““I saw a teammate that I thought was in trouble and my reaction was to help.”
Again, its honorable to want to stick up for teammates in need. But, when you do indeed think with your heart, you sometimes disregard that your act may break some strict rules. If he’s not convinced this move was ill-advised, the $269,230.80 he’ll be forfeiting in game salary should do the trick.