Lost Leaf? Assessing Clarkson’s potential 10-game suspension


The Toronto Maple Leafs won their preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 on Sunday, but a huge line brawl could result in some key suspensions. While Phil Kessel’s understandable-but-violent slashes on John Scott are open to subjectivity, David Clarkson leaving the bench seems primed to garner an automatic 10-game suspension.

The loss is big in ways that are both obvious and a little more subtle.

The obvious: Clarkson, 29, will need to wait quite some time to make his Leafs regular season debut. That 10-game suspension means he wouldn’t play a meaningful game until a road game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 25. His first home game would be the following night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After the game, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle admitted to reporters that Clarkson made a mistake and “now we pay for it.”

The subtle: Worse yet, a suspension doesn’t take Clarkson’s $5.25 million salary cap hit off the books, as Bill Daly confirmed to Broad Street Hockey.*

The Buds are already in a bind with Cody Franson, and now they’ll need to spend at least the league minimum on another player, as the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle notes.

With all this, it’s still way too early for Leafs fans to condemn the Clarkson signing, but his instinct to defend his teammates really backs his new franchise deeper into a corner.

In the likely event that the NHL follows through on a suspension, that is.


Sabres, Leafs line brawl erupts

Paul Bissonnette received a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight, too

* – H/T to James Mirtle and Cap Geek for that tidbit.

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.