New York: David Clarkson was slapped with a 10-game ban on Monday after he left a Toronto Maple Leafs bench to join a brawl in the third period of an exhibition game against Ottawa.
The National Hockey League disciplinary officials said the 10 games was an automatic suspension for a player who leaves the bench to fight.
Clarkson left the Senators’ bench on Sunday to defend teammate Phil Kessel, who was being attacked by Buffalo enforcer John Scott. Scott is 2.07 metres (6ft 8in) and Kessel is 25 centimetres shorter.
“Clarkson has been automatically suspended for 10 regular-season games, without pay, as a result of being assessed a game misconduct penalty for leaving the bench,” the league said in a news release.
The incident took place halfway through the third period and featured 11 skaters and the two goaltenders fighting.
Scott, who was standing beside Kessel as the puck was being dropped for the face-off, immediately went after the Toronto forward, who backed away and took a couple of swings with his stick at Scott. Both Clarkson and Kessel were given match penalties.
“I would have gone after whoever they put next to me,” Scott told reporters after the game. “I wasn’t going to try to hurt him. I was just going to send a message.”
Toronto players rushed to defend their teammate, including the 29-year-old Clarkson, who was the only player from both teams to leave the players’ bench. But before Clarkson could reach Scott, Leafs’ forward Carter Ashton had already tied the tough guy up. The line brawl lasted for several minutes before the on-ice officials were able to restore order.