Maple Leafs' Phil Kessel suspended for last three pre-season games

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel fights with Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Flynn during...

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel fights with Buffalo Sabres forward Brian Flynn during pre-season action at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Sept. 22, 2013. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:46 PM ET

TORONTO - To follow the fallout from the Leafs-Sabres suspension story required some suspension of disbelief.

In short, David Clarkson is now playing, but soon won’t be, Phil Kessel can’t play, but soon will and Buffalo coach Ron Rolston is a little lighter in his wallet for a line change with a costly one-liner from John Scott.

Clarkson, who was considering an appeal of his 10-game sentence, spoke Tuesday night for the first time since Sunday’s ruckus at the ACC. He’s now dropped the idea of going to an independent arbitrator after commissioner Gary Bettman indicated he would uphold the suspension.

“I’m a grown man and I’ll take this and be held accountable,” Clarkson said of jumping the boards to shield leading scorer Phil Kessel from the 6-foot-8 Scott. “My teammates in here come first for me. If anyone got in trouble on this team I would help them.”

Kessel, whom most expected to get a one- or two-game regular-season sentence for chopping and jabbing the super-sized Sabre Scott, was instead granted a reprieve of sorts, told to sit the rest of Toronto’s three-game NHL exhibition schedule. That led observers such as analyst Harry Neale to joke that many veterans would try and start a melee next September to be excused from the boring pre-season ritual.


Videos

Photos