Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Carlyle to keep Clarkson in Leafs’ lineup for preseason games

Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Nicklas Grossmann and Toronto Maple Leafs David Clarkson tussle during NHL pre-season action in Toronto

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Phil Kessel's status for Tuesday's preseason game may be in limbo thanks to a late-afternoon NHL hearing about his role in Sunday's brawl but even though David Clarkson has already been punished for his role in the same incident, he will be in the Toronto Maple Leafs' lineup against the Ottawa Senators.

But Clarkson's reprieve is only temporary and only the result of a technicality. Since his suspension is for 10 regular-season games for leaving the players' bench while there was an altercation on the ice, he is free to play in the preseason games. And that's what Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle intends to do with his new winger.

"It's best that he play as many games a possible, actually," Carlyle said after the Leafs' game-day skate on Tuesday. "With the extended period of time he'll be away from it, we think it's important he gets some games in."

Story continues below advertisement

During his suspension, which will be up on Oct. 25, Clarkson can travel and practice with the Leafs. He just can't appear in any regular-season games.

"He'll definitely travel with the team for the first two [games]," Carlyle said. "He can skate with us in the morning skate and what-not. We'll try and keep him as game-ready as possible."

Neither Clarkson nor Kessel would speak to the media Tuesday about their roles in Sunday's brawl with the Buffalo Sabres. Clarkson drew his suspension for jumping on the ice after Sabres enforcer John Scott went after Kessel, who retaliated with several blows from his stick. Every player on the ice took part in the fighting, including both goaltenders.

But aside from Clarkson, only Kessel is the subject of further discipline from NHL vice-president Brendan Shanahan. While Kessel may draw a suspension from a preseason game or two for using his stick on Scott, it is not expected to cost him any regular-season games.

Clarkson's silence for a third consecutive day was due to the fact he is talking to the NHL Players' Association about an appeal. Players have seven days to file an appeal for suspensions longer than six games and Clarkson is considering his options.

In this case, Clarkson has the right to a further appeal to a neutral arbitrator if NHL commissioner Gary Bettman refuses to overturn the original suspension. Since a player's public comments about a league suspension can be subject to further discipline from the commissioner, Clarkson is keeping quiet.

Those close to the NHL office are making it clear Bettman will not overturn the automatic suspension and the rule about leaving the bench is quite clear, so Clarkson's grounds for appeal seem to be limited.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Hockey columnist

A native of Wainfleet, Ont., David Shoalts joined The Globe in 1984 after working at the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun and Toronto Sun. He graduated in 1978 from Conestoga College and also attended the University of Waterloo. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨