Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson says he will not appeal the 10-game suspension he was given for jumping off the bench to join a line brawl against the Buffalo Sabres on the weekend.
“I sometimes make decisions with my heart, not my head,” Clarkson said after a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators Tuesday.
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.
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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.”