Today during the Toronto Maple Leafs' practice, forward Joey Crabb and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson exchanged a few blows during a cycle drill that got heated up in front of goaltender James Reimer.
Neither player was hurt during the altercation, as forward Nikolai Kulemin and a member of the assistant coaching staff broke up their teammates. After exchanging a few words after the altercation, the good off-ice buddies laughed it off at center ice along with head coach Ron Wilson.
After practice, both players faced the media. Video of the interview and altercation can be found here on the video side bar.
In the interview, Crabb claims that Gunnarsson butt-ended him during a battle in front of the net. The two disagreed, resulting in a few exchanged chirps and eventually leading to the fight. A smiling Crabb also added in the interview, "... that's fine. We were both working hard out there and trying to get better... it was a quick little tussle and that was it."
Leafs teammates have also noted that both players look very similar to each other. The media was not hesitant to make a joke about it. Gunnarsson jokingly said, "It's always nice to have a little mirror fight... but I don't think that was the trigger."
Goaltender James Reimer also commented on the incident, as he was right in front of the altercation. He added, "It was great seats. I mean you could pay extra to get that close... it was a battle drill, a cycling drill where you are cycling down low."
Reimer was not aware of what caused the fight to break out but was sure that there were no hard feelings and that they were great friends on and off the ice.
Despite the tussle at practice today, the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost four out of their last five games. The Leafs have a home and home series with the New York Islanders before All-Star weekend. The Leafs will be challenged, as the surging Islanders have currently won three straight games.
If the Leafs want to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference, winning both of these games will be an important four points, putting the team in a decent position before All-Star weekend.