David Clarkson paying the price for the Leafs loosing ways of late

David Clarkson saw red on Monday, but would not let any anger at a possible line change spew to the surface.

When the Maple Leafs emerged from a hard-to-watch video session preceding their first practice after four straight losses, the pricey winger was wearing the rouge of a checking line, with Carter Ashton and Trevor Smith. Nikolai Kulemin had switched positions with Clarkson on the second line with centre Nazem Kadri and Mason Raymond.

Either coach Randy Carlyle was just compensating for Monday’s absence of injured forwards Jay McClement and Joffrey Lupul or Clarkson is about to be the first high-profile Leaf to pay the price for the team’s losing ways. Carlyle’s comments seem to indicate the latter.

“We haven’t seen the mix of Kadri and Clarkson be effective enough for us … We’re not creating enough,” Carlyle said. “We waited to do an analysis over the three games (on the recent road trip) and felt there wasn’t enough there. You always try to put people together we think are going to fit.”

Though the Leafs and Clarkson were adamant at the start of the season that he wouldn’t be heavily pressured to reproduce his 30-goal year in New Jersey to justify the seven-year contract at $5.25 million US per season, overall results after 17 games have varied. Clarkson has five points and is a minus-3, his most noteworthy act as a projected leader earning him a 10-game NHL suspension.


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