Clarkson finally ends slump

Faster than Air Canada Centre’s Jimmy Holmstrom could play “The Maple Leaf Forever” on the organ, Leafs winger David Clarkson got the piano off his back.

At 12:52 of the third period, Clarkson accepted a pass from Trevor Smith – who forced Islanders forward Franz Nielsen off the puck – and wired a shot past netminder Kevin Poulin to score his first goal of the season. It was also the first goal in a Maple Leafs uniform for the Mimico, Ontario native.

“When you get chances it’s eventually going to come,” said Clarkson – who was gradually becoming the target of wrath as his prolonged slump made his seven-year $36.75 million contract appear all the more exorbitant. “But the better feeling for me is to come in here and turn on that music (after a win).”

No comment on whether post-game song was a Miley Cyrus recording.

Is this the beginning of a new roll for Clarkson? This author thinks so.

The predictions made in July of Clarkson evolving into a dark horse candidate for Team Canada have long been abandoned. Although, there should be flights available to Sochi if he wants to attend the Olympics.

But with more games under his belt, Clarkson should be able to find a groove after the start to his campaign was derailed as a result of the infamous 10-game suspension.

During his career-best 30 goal season of 2011-12 in New Jersey, Clarkson endured both a 12-game stretch in November-December where he only scored in one game – a two-goal effort – followed by a 9-game period in March where he didn’t find the back of the net.

With a quarter of the season gone, 30 goals is an unlikely output this year for Clarkson.

But twenty isn’t out of the question.

Video: Clarkson’s first Leafs goal

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at

Follow on Twitter: @TMLFansRob