Clarkson came off the Toronto bench when Sabres enforcer John Scott dropped his gloves in an attempt to fight the Leafs star winger Phil Kessel in the third period of a Leafs’ 5-3 win at the Air Canada Centre Sunday. Clarkson, who signed a seven-year contract with the Leafs in the off-season, was given a 10-minute misconduct for leaving the bench.
“I saw a teammate that I thought was in trouble and my reaction was to help,” Clarkson explained.
Watch and listen to David Clarkson on Hockey Central at Noon Wednesday on Sportsnet and Sportsnet 590 The FAN – Broadcast Schedule
With Clarkson's suspension, it should also be noted that the Maple Leaf team was also automatically fined $10,000.
Clarkson’s suspension is the longest for a Maple Leafs player since Tie Domi got 11 games (three playoff, eight regular season) for elbowing Scott Niedermayer in the head during the 2001 playoffs.
The 29-year-old will forfeit $269,230.80 in salary and is not eligible to make his regular season debut until an Oct. 25 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Clarkson wasn’t the only one disciplined for the incident; Kessel was suspended the remaining three pre-season games for slashing Scott, while Sabres coach Ron Rolston was fined $10,000 by the NHL for “player selection and team conduct.”