Playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs was a boyhood dream for David Clarkson, but it quickly became a nightmare. It’s not too surprising that he’s glad to get a (relatively) clean slate with the Columbus Blue Jackets, then.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the reset button,” Clarkson said. “The way they want to play the game? … that’s my style of game.”
At their best, the Blue Jackets can be a relentless opponent, which is indeed the kind of mindset Clarkson deployed during his greatest moments in his stint with the New Jersey Devils. That power forward style was largely inhibited in Toronto, and the fault was largely his own (even if injuries and suspensions didn’t exactly make things easier).
PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban caught up with Leafs GM Dave Nonis, who backed up the notion that things just didn’t seem to click for the 30-year-old in Toronto.
“Sometimes players, for whatever reason, don’t fit in a certain city or certain organization,” Nonis said. “I believe in David, I think he’s going to go there and play well. I think he’s going to go in there and fit in with that group and have the impact there that we had hoped he would have here, but we were in a situation where it wasn’t working out as well as we had hoped or as he had hoped.”
He may already enjoy a fairly prominent role if Brandon Dubinsky’s injury is significant. Either way, it’s the kind of deal that makes financial sense for both teams … and might just open the door for Clarkson’s redemption.
As far as when that turnaround may begin, it sounds like that’s a work in progress at the moment.
New #CBJ F David Clarkson just finished tucking his two young kids into bed. Waiting by the phone for visa clearance to head to Columbus.
Even on a night when a trade is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ biggest story, they still suffer from the theme of this season, as Brandon Dubinsky is once again injured.
He appeared to suffer the issue (labeled an upper-body injury) following a collision with Tom Gilbert right after scoring a goal. Dubinsky won’t return to tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports.
Here’s that painful moment following his tally:
Dubinsky’s season has already been limited by injury issues, so this has to be frustrating for the versatile forward and his remarkably unlucky team.
Don Cherry: NHL stars like Sidney Crosby ‘shouldn’t fight’
(Interesting to note that while Cherry brought up Crosby’s concussion history as a reason why Pittsburgh’s star shouldn’t fight, he later turned around and basically dismissed concussions and the connection they have to fighting in hockey.)
Cherry’s main issue was the lack of “protection” stars have now compared to the days of Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy during the 1980s. He then showed several clips of stars like Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash and others in fights.
“They should be protected all the time,” said Cherry. “That’s why they get injured all the time. They should never, ever be fighting.”
Pittsburgh has found the back of the net just once in each of its last three contests and part of that recent drought is tied to Sidney Crosby, who has been held off the scoresheet in five of his last six games. His frustrations seemed to reach a boiling point tonight when he engaged Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky in a sparring match:
If Crosby was hoping to spark his team, it didn’t work as it was Dubinsky that was ultimately the hero tonight by netting the game-winning goal:
Pittsburgh’s scoring woes are just the latest in a long line of issues. The Penguins have a 10-11-5 record since Dec. 20, which has allowed the rest of the league to catch up with them. The latest example is the Washington Capitals, which earned a 5-1 victory over Winnipeg tonight to leapfrog the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division race.
The silver lining for the Penguins is that the damage is not yet irreversible. While they’re now in fourth place in their division, they still only trail the first place New York Islanders by six points.
Meanwhile, Columbus kept its faint playoff hopes alive with its fifth victory in seven games. The Blue Jackets are 26-27-3 this season.