David Clarkson was the first bench player to enter into the fray, and received the appropriate ban. (Getty Images)
By Allan Muir
David Clarkson's going to have to wait a month to make his regular season debut for the Maple Leafs.
As expected, the forward has been suspended for the first 10 games, without pay, after leaving the bench to join in last night's line brawl between Toronto and the Buffalo Sabres. He's also out for the team's remaining preseason schedule.
There wasn't a lot of room for interpretation on this one. The suspension is mandated by Rule 70.10, which states: "The first player to leave the players' or penalty bench illegally during an altercation or for the purpose of starting an altercation from either or both teams shall be suspended without pay for the next 10 regular League and/or playoff games of his team."
Under the terms of the CBA, Clarkson will forfeit $269,230.80. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Clarkson will be eligible to return to the Maple Leafs' lineup on Oct. 25 at Columbus.
There's no word yet from the league on a possible suspension for the man Clarkson was rushing to defend, Phil Kessel. The team's top scorer landed at least three lumberjack swings on the legs of Buffalo's John Scott, and received a match penalty for his efforts. He could end up in the press box for a couple of games as a result.