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Toronto Maple Leafs David Clarkson (71) looks up in the middle of a battle with the Buffalo Sabres during third period NHL preseason action in Toronto on Sunday September 22, 2013.The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson has been suspended 10 regular-season games without pay for leaving the bench to take part in a fight.

Clarkson's move to join the fight Sunday during Toronto's 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres will delay his Leafs debut until Oct. 25 at Columbus.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-winger was coming to the defence of Phil Kessel after Sabres enforcer John Scott tried to instigate a fight with the Leafs star in the third period.

Clarkson was assessed a game misconduct penalty before being handed the automatic suspension Monday.

Clarkson, who signed a seven-year, $36.75-million (U.S.) contract with Toronto in the off-season, will forfeit $269,230.80 of his salary.

The Leafs are still waiting to see if Kessel, who was issued a match penalty during the game, will receive further discipline.

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