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Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs pile-up during third period of their exhibition game (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs pile-up during third period of their exhibition game

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

MacLeod: Leafs-Sabres brawl a senseless act Add to ...

The Globe’s Robert MacLeod curates the best of sports on the web Monday to Friday

It is only preseason hockey where nothing is at stake and you would expect saner heads to prevail.

But any pretext of professional behaviour was difficult to discern when the Toronto Maple Leafs played the Buffalo Sabres at the Air Canada Centre Sunday night.

Sure, the Sabres represent the Leafs closest geographical rival and it was the second game of a back-to-back weekend series, but it was still no excuse for the silliness that transpired in the third period.

The Leafs would go on to record a 5-3 win over Buffalo in an outcome that was overshadowed by a donnybrook that resulted in 239 minutes in penalties.

It was a brawl that featured Toronto’s Phil Kessel swinging his stick like a lumberjack in a tree chopping competition.

It also featured the unusual spectacle of both goalies, Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller, who resembled a couple of sumo wrestlers lumbering around on the ice, going pad-to-pad.

Most disturbing from the Leafs perspective was the decision of David Clarkson, the Leafs high-priced off-season free-agent acquisition, to leave the bench to participate in the brawl.

NHL rules call for an automatic 10-game suspension for any player behaves in such a fashion and now Toronto will be without one of its best players when the regular-season begins on Oct. 1 in Montreal.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle is obviously not happy with the development, admitting that Clarkson “made a mistake and now we’re paying for it.”

Trestman cruising, 49ers falling

The Chicago Bears, with CFL refugee Mark Trestman calling the shots, continued to roll, moving to 3-0 with a 40-23 victory over the stumbling 0-3 Pittsburgh Steelers.

But it wasn’t all smooth going for Trestman, the former Montreal Alouettes head man, as Rick Morissey writes in the Chicago Sun-Times .

In San Francisco, 49ers fans are starting to get nervous following a 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

The 49ers were punch-less and passionless writes Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

And if fans are nervous in San Francisco, they are downright apoplectic in Washington where the Redskins have fallen to 0-3 after a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.

He may still be a very good NFL quarterback but, as Thomas Boswell writes in the Washington Post, the Superman cape of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is at the dry cleaners.

It is difficult to fathom what went on in Cleveland where the Browns upended the Minnesota Vikings 31-27 despite the absence of starting runningback Trent Richardson (who was traded) and starting quarterback Brendon Weeden (who was injured).

The circumstances led to the Browns presenting the game ball to rookie coach Rob Chudzinski writes Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

A's clinch playoff spot once again

The surprising low-budget Oakland A’s have done it again, heading back to the post-season for a second consecutive season after posting a 11-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.

A muted post-game celebration by the A’s is a clear indication that Oakland wants much more writes Monte Poole in the San Francisco Chronicle.

For weeks now Mariano Rivera has been on the receiving end of parting gifts as his bon voyage with the New York Yankees took him through baseball parks in the United States and Canada.

On Sunday, it was Mariano Rivera day in the Bronx and heavy metal masters Metallica was on hand to play Enter Sandman, his theme song, for the masses.

After the game even Rivera needed help controlling the clutter writes Zach Schonbrun in the New York Times .

And how’s this for a buzz kill as a swarm of bees caused a 23-minute break during the Seattle Mariners-Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim.

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