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.

That’s a week’s rest for Kessel before the real shooting begins next Tuesday. League disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan took the lightweight Leaf’s clean record into consideration and the fact Scott was not injured.