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Blue Jackets ruin David Clarkson’s Leafs debut

Oct 26, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Dalton Prout #47 of the Columbus Blue Jackets and David Clarkson #71 of the Toronto Maple Leafs chase after a loose puck during the first period on October 25, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
(October 24, 2013 - Source: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

David Clarkson‘s tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. After inking a seven-year, roughly $36.8 million deal over the summer, he missed the first 10 games of the regular season thanks to an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight Buffalo’s John Scott during a preseason game.

He was finally able to make his debut on Friday, but took a hooking penalty just 4:16 minutes into the contest against Columbus. The Blue Jackets capitalized on the opportunity en route to a 5-2 victory. Clarkson ended up with four shots on goal and a minus-one rating in 15:41 minutes of playing time.

He looked “rusty” to Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, although that’s to be expected after missing nearly a month of play.

“He’s going to try, he’s going to work,” Carlyle said, according to the Canadian Press via the Maple Leafs’ site. “The other things as far as the stick-handling and the turnovers and stuff, I think you’ve got to give the guy some slack.”

Clarkson felt he was okay, although he obviously wasn’t satisfied with the result. How he performs over the coming weeks and months will likely be the subject of intense scrutiny in Toronto as his contract was a somewhat divisive one. The length of the deal in particular has been criticized, given that the physical forward will celebrate his 30th birthday in March. At the same time, his blend of grit and goal scoring prowess should prove to be an asset on a team that’s gotten off to a 7-4-0 start.

Clarkson will get a chance to immediately shake off this loss with a match against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

  1. kingjoffrey19 - Oct 26, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Classic media trying to stir the pot. This deal might be something that Leaf fans are unhappy with 5 years from now but for now we are all just excited for this guy to start playing. I didn’t feel like he looked out of place at all.

    Guy is an absolute stud.

  2. crazemastercraze - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Most overpaid active professional athlete in North America

    • dirtyback - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      cough*Joe Flacco*cough

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

      Pujols?

  3. earpaniac - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    He’s not even close to most overpaid. Just this year in baseball Hamilton, Zito, etc.

  4. martysbetter - Oct 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Eesh, I feel bad for Clarkson – dude is going to be under the microscope all season long, no more hiding on the 3rd line in New Jersey.

    He takes dumb penalties all the time, but he plays his role – I’m just not sure his role is a 1st/2nd line winger..

  5. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Oct 26, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    It really is the typical Leaf haters making a mountain out of molehill. First of all, the season started, the team is cap compliant, his salary means nothing right now. They way him and the team plays is all that matters. Do they have issues? Of course. Name a team that doesn’t have issues.

    It was his first game back and he played well considering he’s 10 games behind everyone else in terms of being in game shape. He shows signed of early season rust, but again, that’s normal for a players 1st game of the season. We’re people expecting Crosby to show up? It’s just Clarkson.

    Clarkson definitely wasn’t the problem last night. It was the collective effort by the team to keep marching to the penalty box. Early in the game the Leafs had the momentum, but seemed every time they got anything going in the first two periods, someone took another stupid penalty and gave the momentum back to the Jackets. Columbus took advantage.

    The game was actually close. It was only 3-2 when the Leafs pulled the goalie. Leafs had some good chances, but Bobrovsky did his job. Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m sure there must be a reason he won the Vezina. Leafs missing Lupul doesn’t help the offenses chances either. He IS the 2nd line. Hope he’s not out long.

    Leafs are 7-4 being plagued with injuries and suspensions. I’ll take it.

  6. cincycbjfan - Oct 26, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    How about a story about the winning team here? Blue Jackets finally on a roll, team is starting to click, winning streak in progress. Yet, we get a story about the Leafs… yeah, I get that they’re 7-4, Clarkson’s first game back, Original 6, etc. etc. etc…

    See the same thing on NHL network… had Ryan Murray on the Cisco Arena Cam, but then they go to “highlights” from the Leafs dressing room. ALL talk about the Leafs from that point; barely a whisper about the winning team… Exactly the same scenario with the Isles-Pens game… had the Isles and Jackets lost, GUARANTEE there would have been NOTHING from either of their dressing rooms, and the stories would have been 100% about the winners. Just saying… (let the flame war begin!)

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