According to David Alter, David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs is considering an appeal of his 10-game automatic suspension by the NHL for leaving the players’ bench to join an altercation during Sunday’s melee with the Buffalo Sabres.
Which, of course, would be a huge waste of time, but you can’t blame a guy for trying.
NHL Rule 70.10 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."
Clarkson left the Leafs bench long after John Scott went after Phil Kessel, and with a dogpile of players near center ice. He hesitated for a moment and then engaged Sabres players, emerging with Scott after the incident died down.
This would be the second appeal of a 10-game automatic suspension this preseason, as Paul Bissonnette of the Phoenix Coyotes fought his ban for leaving the bench in a brawl with the Los Angeles Kings. BizNasty, however, felt he was wrongfully accused, and that he came off the bench when Max Domi went to the bench before Domi returned to the fight. The NHL tells us that appeal is ongoing.
In both cases, the fight would be taken over Gary Bettman’s head to an independent arbitrator, who no doubt would overrule Clarkson’s appeal as the situation is rather cut-and-dry.
But again, you can’t blame him for trying. When your coach says you made a mistake, and that mistake not only takes you off the ice for one eighth of the season but also messes with the team’s salary cap flexibility, then a player can be expected to at least give the appearance of trying to make amends. Even if it’s ultimately pointless.