David Clarkson’s penalty minute to playing time ratio against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday was more than 10:1 and that’s where it will stay as he was booted after one period and 2:31 minutes of official work.
The Maple Leafs forward got off to an eventful start by picking a fight with Brandon Prust just 3:35 minutes into the contest.
Clarkson got five minutes for fighting and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Prust and Clarkson have traded blows.
“You know, coming up, I really hated David Clarkson,” Prust previously admitted on Hockey Confidential, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie. “Our fights were personal…I think we’ve both matured now; we maybe don’t have same hatred…but as teenagers in London and Kitchener, and (in NHL), it was personal.”
After Clarkson finished serving his time, he delivered a big and potentially suspension-worthy hit against Canadiens defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Nathan Beaulieu rushed to the defense of his fallen teammate.
Clarkson got major penalties for fighting and interference as well as a game misconduct.
Update: Gonchar is out with an upper-body injury, per TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie.
Jimmy Howard will make his first start since Jan. 10 tonight when the Detroit Red Wings play host to the Winnipeg Jets. Howard missed 10 games with a groin injury. He made four saves in relief of Petr Mrazec on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Howard is 16-7-7 with a 2.09 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage this season.
Michael Hutchinson is expected to start for the Jets.
Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price
Blue Jackets at Islanders: Anton Forsberg vs. Jaroslav Halak
Rangers at Coyotes: Cam Talbot vs. Mike Smith
Hurricanes at Wild: Anton Khudobin vs. Devan Dubnyk
Devils at Predators: Cory Schneider vs. Pekka Rinne
Stars at Avalanche: Jhonas Enroth vs. Semyon Varlamov
Canucks at Flames: Ryan Miller vs. Karri Ramo
Capitals at Kings: Braden Holtby vs. Jonathan Quick
He has three years remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $4.2 million.
The Globe and Mail reported this week that team president Brendan Shanahan has received approval from ownership to put the club through a full rebuild. The move would mean building through the draft and long-term projects instead of short-term solutions through trades and established players.
Hockey insider Darren Dreger reported earlier this week that the Leafs would be prepared to part ways with captain Dion Phaneuf and Kessel, but added because of the term remaining on their respective deals a move at the trade deadline would be unlikely.
Phaneuf is expected to miss up to another week with his hand injury, which could also scare off teams at the deadline.
Dreger added both could be moved in the offseason when teams have more room to play with.
The Leafs have just one playoff appearance in nine seasons. If Shanahan is to do things his way, it could be at least a couple more years without postseason hockey in Toronto.
Whether he likes dealing with the Toronto media or not, Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel can’t ignore the headlines any better than anyone else.
That probably explains the seemingly defeated comments Kessel made following Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, as he almost seemed to shrug his shoulders – if sadly – at the prospect of being traded.
TSN’s Mark Masters has the quote: “I go where they want me. I love Toronto. If it’s not here it’s not here.”
It was a mixed bag of an effort for the Leafs in tonight’s loss against the Islanders; one might give them a seven on the “give-a-blank meter.” Still, Toronto lost its 21st of its last 25 games and there were sloppy moments like the opening goal:
When Kessel signed a contract extension with the Leafs, some were surprised that he was OK with signing on to continue the soap opera in Toronto. As it turns out, he might not be long for the market anyway.
John Gibson will make his first start since Oct. 30 when the Ducks take on the ‘Canes in Carolina tonight.
Gibson, who burst onto the scene last year and appeared in four playoff games, started this season with Anaheim but has spent much of the last three months in AHL Norfolk (though he was shelved for a while with injury.)
A recent injury to Frederik Andersen — he’ll miss the next three games while on IR with an upper-body injury — and Ilya Bryzgalov’s spotty play in relief paved the way for the 21-year-old Gibson to make his return; it’ll be interesting to see if he can improve on his numbers from limited work earlier in the season (Gibson is 2-2-0 on the year, with a 2.65 GAA and .915 save percentage.)
For the ‘Canes, Cam Ward gets the start in goal.
Leafs at Isles: Jonathan Bernier vs. Jaroslav Halak
Oilers at Habs: Viktor Fasth vs. Dustin Tokarski
Pens at Sens: Thomas Greiss vs. Robin Lehner
Blues at Bolts: Brian Elliott for St. Louis, Ben Bishop likely for Tampa Bay.
Jets at Preds: Pekka Rinne likely for Nashville, no word yet on a Winnipeg starter.
Panthers at Wild: Roberto Luongo vs. Devan Dubyk
Rangers at Avs: Cam Talbot for New York, no word yet on a Colorado starter.
Flames at Kings: Jonas Hiller for Calgary, Jonathan Quick likely for L.A.