David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sept 22, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
(September 21, 2013 - Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images North America)

Clarkson on drought: ‘I wasn’t brought here to score 50 goals’


Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson was suspended for the first 10 games of the season because he left the bench during a preseason contest to participate in a fight. He’s played in 10 contests since returning and hasn’t scored a single goal.

Not exactly an ideal start to his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I wasn’t brought here to score 50 goals,” Clarskon told TSN. “I was brought here for that full game that I bring, competing every night.”

Certainly, a big part of Clarskon’s appeal comes from the fact that he plays a complete game, but complete is the key word there. You don’t sign a player that brings heart and grit alone to a seven-year, $36.75 million contract. The 29-year-old’s goal-scoring touch is just one facet of his game, but it had to have been a meaningful factor when his value was determined over the summer.

That being said, goal scorers can be streaky and the sample size is still small.

“We think that David Clarkson has got a lot to offer to our hockey club and he’s had his fair share of chances,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “He’s a little bit snake-bitten, but if he continues to go to the net the way he’s been going and we continue to drive that middle lane and get pucks directed around him he’ll score some goals for us. We believe that.”

Perhaps he’ll catch a break tonight against the New York Islanders.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.