Maple Leafs' Clarkson banned 10 games for joining brawl

Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson has been suspended 10 regular season games for leaving the bench to join a brawl in a preseason game versus the Buffalo Sabres, the National Hockey League (NHL) said on Monday.

An earlier fight raised tensions in the exhibition game on Sunday and the melee, which included a scrap between the teams' goalies, began when a Buffalo enforcer tried to instigate a fight with Toronto forward Phil Kessel.

Clarkson, who was Toronto's big free agent acquisition during the offseason when he signed a seven-year contract, will be eligible to return to the Maple Leafs' lineup on October 25 at Columbus, the NHL said in a statement.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)