Clarkson, Kessel face suspensions after line brawl

Cam Charron
September 23 2013 12:53AM

I'm a strict pacifist, but I have to admit I smirked a little when I saw that Bryan Flynn tapped out of his bout with Phil Kessel Sunday night after being cut. I smirked a little harder when Kessel skated by John Scott and speared him a little as Scott was engaged with David Clarkson. There wasn't a lot defensible in the brawl the Maple Leafs and Sabres got into Sunday. I hadn't seen the game up to that point, so there's little context for what happened on the ice leading up to the event, but if the video linked here at Sportsnet is any indication, Scott wanted to get into it with Kessel and mayhem broke loose.

The brawl will cost David Clarkson a ten-game suspension, as I'm sure we're all aware by now. It's an automatic rule that will be handed out on Monday, consistent with Rule 70.10 of the National Hockey League rulebook:

"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 automatically without pay for the next ten (10) regular League and/or Play-off games of his team."

Here's the boxscore from the game. Ignore the Phil Kessel match penalty for now. It will only make you upset.

I can't imagine Randy Carlyle would be too pleased with his new toy Clarkson after that, since it opens him to to supplemental discipline as well as a maximum $10,000 fine.

So that's that. The fine is automatic and costly, since it leaves the Maple Leafs a winger short on opening day, and delays Clarkson's Leafs debut to Friday, October 25 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It gets worse, per Jonas Siegel:

Kessel too, could face additional discipline. According to the NHL rulebook, a player handed a match penalty “shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the Commissioner has ruled on the issue”.

...

Clarkson's contract also continues to count against the cap, squeezing the Leafs further and perhaps even damaging their chances to sign Cody Franson before the season begins.

That puts the team in a bit of a pickle, since it forces the team to use an injury call-up, and the team was already planning on being shorthanded at least to start the season. The cheapest difference between 21 skaters and 22 skaters is about $550K which is Trevor Smith's salary. There was some talk last week of the Leafs not planning to open the season with a full 23-man roster. With the minor-league affiliate in town, 21 is manageable during homestands. With Clarkson's suspension, the team will need 22 players on the roster for home games. If Kessel is suspended, it's 23 to start the season.

That's obviously a situation nobody was planning on getting into, a Black Swan if you will, a highly improbable, unpredictable event with severe ramifications.

Chris Johnston noted at Sportsnet that "those that live by the sword die by the sword". As cliché as it is as a phrase, the Leafs can't point the finger at John Scott exclusively. The rulebook is designed in a way to punish those that attempt to instigate fights against unwilling combatants. Carlyle is correct to point out that Clarkson made a mistake, and the suspension is bad enough without thinking of the salary cap considerations—the team will lose its prized free agency acquisition, who didn't even do much other than stand around tugging at Scott's jersey.

Wysh has the nitty gritty on all the details of the brawl, such as there being 211 penalty minutes handed out and that it was sparked by Jamie Devane fighting Corey Tropp just after Tropp had scored a goal. Carlyle's attempt to play peacemaker by sending out Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Carter Ashton backfired horrifically, and the Leafs are going to have to pay the price in the opening week.

63811cbf517d2d685ea09e103488ea3a
Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
Avatar
#1 Frank Castle
September 23 2013, 07:41AM
Trash it!
21
trashes
Props
5
props

whoever wrote this article is a idiot, your supporting that kessel slashed and speared isead of being a man and fighting scott. kessel is pathetic just like the leafs nation. Go sens Go

Avatar
#2 Badger M
September 23 2013, 06:57AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
4
props

Kind of an odd, negative tone for the article. That whole sequence of events was way too much fun for me to be upset, and while it's only been pre-season, the Leafs have looked deep defensively. I'm definitely not as worried about Franson anymore.

Avatar
#3 speeds
September 23 2013, 10:02AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Props
1
props

I see Nobody mentioned Two things, If Kessel werent such a Wimmp, this doesnt happen, and arent out two Protectors supposed to handle theses kind of situations?? We look stupid here, and during a Meaningless exhib game.

Avatar
#4 DR
September 23 2013, 10:03AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
1
props

TSN says the Leafs have obtained Travis Moen and a fourth rounder for a Second round pick in 2014.

Avatar
#5 speeds
September 23 2013, 01:17AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
5
props

A Clarkson suspension (and potentially a Kessel suspension) might also increase the potential that some opportunist teams signs Franson to an offer sheet that TOR would be in tough to match.

Avatar
#6 Brayden Chao
September 23 2013, 06:43AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
2
props

Really sucks to have this happen, losing Franson potentially is big

Avatar
#7 Holy Mackinaw
September 23 2013, 09:53AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
2
props

@Frank Castle

hey loser Sens troll, go find your own blog to promote your sad sack team.

Avatar
#8 Brian
September 23 2013, 08:11AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
9
props

@Frank Castle

If you're going to call someone an idiot, you should at least "be a man" and spell your words properly.

Avatar
#10 Steve Dangle
September 23 2013, 09:36AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props
Frank Castle wrote:

whoever wrote this article is a idiot, your supporting that kessel slashed and speared isead of being a man and fighting scott. kessel is pathetic just like the leafs nation. Go sens Go

Sens fan. 'Round these here parts? You look lost there, byow. *cocks shotgun from porch*

Avatar
#11 nnt.87
September 23 2013, 09:55AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
3
props

The reason I am not unhappy with what happened is Now when we miss the Playoffs, this is the excuse we can use. ClARKSON IS CUTE, THOUGH.

Avatar
#12 Badger M
September 23 2013, 10:28AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

@Cam Charron

When it comes down to it, the emotional part of hockey is why I love it so much. That fight scratched that itch.

We can sit and discuss the negatives from a cap perspective for quite a while, and in all likelihood I would completely agree with you. It's just a bit weird to see such a bizarre, thrilling sequence of events unfold live, being boiled down to pure analytics.

Avatar
#13 Jeremy Ian
September 23 2013, 10:52AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

I agree with Cam that the Leafs earned nothing and pay a price for all this. But I doubt Kessel gets a suspension. There was no injury and he was clearly being pursued by a goon who was out to pummel. Still, Kessel didn't distinguish himself and I am sure regrets swinging his thing. Let that be penalty enough, with a verbal reprimand.

Who looks bad in all this are the coaches. Rolston was clearly out to stir up a mess after being embarrassed -- not least because Tropp egged Devane into the first fight, and wound up injured as a result. Stupid! Rolston deserves a suspension.

But Carlyle too looks bad. If one of his trademarks is no guff with his team, he really blew it, esp if Scott was yammering away during the break that he was going to toss his gloves. Send out Kessel to cool things down when the Leafs already have too many pugilists? Makes no sense. Rolston/Scott had clearly indicated they weren't going to play by the "code."

Avatar
#14 Badger M
September 23 2013, 03:34PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

And mocking me on twitter for my comments here just lost you a reader. That was completely uncalled for and shows a lack of professionalism and integrity on your part.

Avatar
#16 Badger M
September 23 2013, 09:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Also, if Hall didn't get suspended for this: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/2456105/slash.gif

I doubt Kessel is out for any regular season games. Bobo said it's likely he just gets a "slap on the wrist"

Avatar
#17 Steve Dangle
September 23 2013, 09:35AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
Badger M wrote:

Kind of an odd, negative tone for the article. That whole sequence of events was way too much fun for me to be upset, and while it's only been pre-season, the Leafs have looked deep defensively. I'm definitely not as worried about Franson anymore.

Fun and a cool topic of conversation? Totally. But the Leafs are going to lose too of their top six forward, including their best one.

Avatar
#18 Peachy
September 23 2013, 10:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Badger M wrote:

When it comes down to it, the emotional part of hockey is why I love it so much. That fight scratched that itch.

We can sit and discuss the negatives from a cap perspective for quite a while, and in all likelihood I would completely agree with you. It's just a bit weird to see such a bizarre, thrilling sequence of events unfold live, being boiled down to pure analytics.

Accessible analytics is kinda the point of the LN blog though, no?

The emotional bits are thoroughly discussed by mainstream media.

Comments are closed for this article.