The NHL regular season hasn’t even started yet and David Clarkson has managed to damage the playoff hopes of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs mess up their salary-cap situation and jeopardize their chances of signing defenceman Cody Franson.
All this with one stupid decision.
Leafs general manager David Nonis and head coach Randy Carlyle must be thrilled with their prize free-agent signing. Clarkson was officially suspended by the NHL for the first 10 games of the 2013-14 season on Monday.
League rules call for an automatic 10 regular-season games for anyone who leaves the players’ bench or penalty box to join an altercation on the ice – as Clarkson did last Sunday during a preseason against the Buffalo Sabres.
Securing a playoff spot will be more difficult this season due to realignment with 16 teams in the Eastern Conference chasing eight berths while eight of 14 teams in the Western Conference will make the postseason. The Leafs also have to worry about the Detroit Red Wings ...