David Clarkson will probably have to wait awhile before making his regular-season debut in blue and white.
Overshadowed by the goalie fighting and stick swinging during Sunday night’s Maple Leafs-Sabres line brawl was the fact that Clarkson, who signed with the Leafs in July after seven seasons in New Jersey, left the bench during the melee, subjecting him to an automatic 10-game suspension.
The NHL has not yet announced any supplemental discipline stemming from the brawl, but leaving the bench to join a fight — which Clarkson is clearly seen doing in video of the incident — is automatically punishable by a 10-ban under league rules. The rule has already come into play once during this preseason, as Phoenix’s Paul Bissonnette was suspended 10 regular-season games for leaving the bench during a game against the Kings last week.
A suspension of that size would cost Clarkson $507,692.21 in game checks, according to CBC’s Mike Brophy, and make him eligible to make his Toronto debut Oct. 25 against Columbus.
“I think obviously we’re not proud or happy with what went on, that’s for sure,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said after the game. “I think David Clarkson made a mistake and now we pay for it.”
Check out the video of the brawl below. Clarkson (No. 71) can be seen joining the fracas around the 1:45 mark.