A sure sign that a team's situation is reaching its boiling point is when fights start to break out in practice. That's exactly what happened this afternoon in Toronto, and from two unlikely combatants.
During Maple Leafs practice Friday afternoon, Phil Kessel and David Booth -- they of seven combined NHL scraps -- got into a dust up and had to be separated by teammates. Toronto is in the midst of a seven-game slide, and there's little doubt the fight was nothing more than frustration boiling over in Toronto. Footage of the wrestling match between the two surfaced thanks to Toronto's Global News:
After practice, Booth told TSN that the fight was just one of those things that happens during the course of a season.
"It’s actually good to see that," Booth told TSN. "Hopefully we can take some of that competitive nature into the game tomorrow. It's the game of hockey, stuff like that is bound to happen. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all, but obviously when it happens here it might create a little bit of a ruckus.”
Asked whether or not Kessel was the one who started the jousting, Booth said it would be better to ask Kessel what happened. Kessel did not speak to the media following practice.
Coach Peter Horachek's response to the fight? Well, he thought it was a good thing.
"Great," Horachek told reporters after practice. "Competition. Guys gotta compete in practice, and I think that's a good thing. That's a regular thing that used to happen all the team with most teams. Teams need to compete in practice, and that's just the way it is. It's part of the game."
Toronto will be back in action Saturday evening when they take on the red hot Ottawa Senators.