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Clarkson suspension puts Maple Leafs in roster trouble to start season

Tuesday, 09.24.2013 / 12:55 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Clarkson suspension puts Maple Leafs in roster trouble to start season

TORONTO - David Clarkson will play in the Maple Leafs' pre-season game against the Senators tonight.

Clarkson received an automatic 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to join a fight, but that does not begin until the start of the regular season Oct. 1.

Until then, Clarkson is free to play exhibition games.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle says it's important for Clarkson to play as much as possible now before he's sent to the sidelines to serve the suspension.

Carlyle said Clarkson will travel with the Leafs to Montreal and Philadelphia for their first two games and practise with the hope that he stays "as game-ready as possible."

The 29-year-old right-winger was not made available to reporters after the morning skate. Neither was Phil Kessel, who has an afternoon disciplinary hearing with the NHL via telephone.

That hearing will determine whether Kessel will play against Ottawa, according to Carlyle.

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It's about enjoying the moment. It's pretty cool to get that many people together and that excited about hockey to the point they really want you to mess up. They've got a ton of red jerseys and you have to sit back and appreciate people love hockey that much and you are the one out there who gets to play the game. Just try and stick with that respect for the game and also the mentality that for me it's just about entering the fight and seeing how long I can stay in it.

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