Source: Clarkson considers appeal of suspension

Toronto Maple Leafs David Clarkson (71) looks up in the middle of a battle with the Buffalo Sabres. (CP/Frank Gunn)

TORONTO – David Clarkson still hasn’t spoken publicly since jumping off the Toronto Maple Leafs bench to join a line brawl on Sunday night and it’s no coincidence as to why – the veteran winger is considering launching an appeal to his 10-game suspension.

It’s unclear on what grounds Clarkson would appeal an automatic ban that is spelled out pretty clearly in the NHL rulebook, but a source confirmed to that he is currently weighing that option.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, an NHL spokesman said the league had yet to officially receive a request for an appeal from Clarkson or the NHL Players’ Association.

Under league rules, the player has until Wednesday night to launch an appeal that would be heard by Gary Bettman. If the NHL commissioner were to refuse to overturn the decision, Clarkson could then take the case to neutral arbitrator James Oldham.

That wrinkle was added to the new collective bargaining agreement that was signed in January. A case has never gone before an arbitrator before.

Video clearly showed that Clarkson came off Toronto’s bench when Sabres enforcer John Scott dropped his gloves and attempted to engage Leafs star Phil Kessel during a third period faceoff. He was given a 10-minute misconduct for leaving the bench and the Leafs weren’t surprised when his suspension was handed down.

“I think David Clarkson made a mistake and now we pay for it,” coach Randy Carlyle said after Sunday’s game.

Clarkson is set to forfeit $269,230.80 in salary because of the 10-game suspension and won’t be able to make his regular-season debut until Oct. 25 in Columbus.

However, Clarkson was expected to suit up in Toronto’s pre-season game against Ottawa at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. In fact, Carlyle hinted that he’ll play in all three remaining exhibition games before his suspension officially comes into effect.

“We think that it’s important for him to get some games in,” Carlyle said.

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