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"Toronto Observer Journalist and CoHost of POP n JOE Podcast"
Toronto, ON • Canada • 24 Years Old • Male

Curious Case of Clarkson

Posted 1:56 PM ET | Comments 8
For every resounding fact that proves Dave Bolland is the heart of this team and a difference maker, there are opposites stats that prove otherwise about David Clarkson. Now I am not attempting to bash Clarkson, nor am I admitting he was a bad signing just yet. However, it's strange that with Clarkson in the lineup the Leafs seem to be a less productive team.

There are some player that can pride themselves on being game changers, tempo setters, and record aiders, for some strange reason Clarkson cannot have all three attributes at the same time. Clarkson's intangibles are evident in his forecheck, solid skating ability,and quicker hands than I believed he had. Yet, none of these positives equal an above .500 club when he is in the line up.

The leafs are a 16-20 with Clarkson in the lineup and although the record is not impressive their physicality when he is in the lineup is.

Clarkson is playing the type of game that Randy Carlysle wants this Leaf team to play. Interestingly enough, the player that exemplifies Carlysle style of play is proving to be ineffective and the squad is playing better with their run and gun offence. But all hope is not lost Leaf land, since, I HAVE A PLAN.

I believe the solution to the problem is to insulate Clarkson with the type of players that fit his game and the game of the coach. Playing Clarkson with Kadri and Lupul is ineffective as Clarkson plays a North-South game while Lupul and Kadri are definitely East-West type players. I believe once Bolland is back, he will be the perfect centre to compliment Clarkson, with Kulemin completing the trifecta. This type of line would establish a strong forecheck, be a legitimate shut down unit and will be able to score.

The Leafs record with Clarkson in the lineup for now is to me more a statement on the Leafs inconsistencies and less on Clarkson's contributions to the team. His skill is not what got him his massive deal from the Leafs, his heart, hard work, and commitment to winning at all costs are what did. By attempting to elevate Clarkson into a skilled winger, is putting him in an uncomfortable situation where he and his game look confused. Clarkson will prove his worth when the tempo of the games increase right before playoff time and hopefully in the playoffs. When hard work, simple hockey, and a solid forecheck wins you games.

Don't worry yourselves yet Leaf fans, Clarkson's game will come around. Also, a positive for this leaf team is they are still competing for a playoff spot and in only 5 games has this team iced their actual roster.
Filed Under:   Toronto   Maple   Leafs   Clarkson   Bolland   Playoffs   Carlysle   Kadri  
January 22, 2014 11:51 AM ET | Delete
Honestly Clarkson is far and away NOT the problem with the Leafs. One can argue he was overpaid to sign here, but he did leave more money on the table with Edmonton so Leafs were not as bad as some other teams tossing money around even. Clarkson has a good presence in the locker room, but on the ice is trying to do too much, and force himself into being something he isnt to prove he is worth it. Fact is he was just starting to be a force when he was put on the IR this last time.The bigger woes are the young guys making mistakes, which is bound to happen, but more so getting some second line scoring going. Kadri needs a night or two in the press box and has been struggling offensively while being nothing more than a turnover machine. He coughs up the puck or gets knocked off it, or worse! Like that idiot pass in Phoenix that wound up a 2 on 1 and in the back of our own net. Your plan is definitly where I would be looking at it though, unless you consider too putting Holland on line 2 with Lupul and Clarkson and letting him be the big net presence for the other two.
January 22, 2014 6:40 PM ET | Delete
Been Saying this for a while now. Glad someone else see this too
January 23, 2014 12:15 PM ET | Delete
I like this post. Couple your reasoning with the fact that free agents who spend a long time on another squad and then switch often have a lesser season before coming into their own on the team. I still think there is a lot of hope for Clarkson.
January 23, 2014 12:53 PM ET | Delete
Good player bad contract. Only a matter of time till Leaf fans start calling for his head but anyone could have predicted this in July.
January 23, 2014 5:11 PM ET | Delete
I agree, the Win in Boston was a playoff type win and look how the team has come together since that game. Little lapses but good play in general. This team needed confidence they where not a fluke last year and winning hard fought playoff type games is going to get this team together. Clarkson will then show a driving force and people will adore him like Tucker.
January 23, 2014 9:56 PM ET | Delete
Solid skating ability? he can barely stand on a pair of skates... He is a very good enforcer and a good Grinder, nothing else.
January 27, 2014 11:47 AM ET | Delete
Good post. Clarkson will be the real deal if placed in the right circumstances. Your idea for 3rd line duty with Bolland
January 31, 2014 6:37 PM ET | Delete
The headline reads like a "Perry Mason" episode
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