TORONTO – Toronto Maple Leafs’ forwards Phil Kessel and David Booth got into a shoving match during a morning skate Friday morning.
The two players got into the altercation during their morning skate and eventually had to be broken up by a handful of their teammates.
But the players brushed off questions the fight was a symptom of growing frustration. Booth told reporters following the practice that he hopes “some of that competitive nature” will be taken into Saturday night’s game.
“If you play the game of hockey, that stuff is bound to happen,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a big deal at all, but obviously if it happens here it might create a little bit of a ruckus.”
And team Captain Dion Phaneuf suggested scraps happen all the time.
“We’re competitive guys and sometimes tempers flare and emotions boil over but to be completely honest with you there’s nothing more to it than a little bit of a skirmish or scrum,” he said.
WATCH: David Booth, Dion Phaneuf, and head coach Peter Horachek talk about the on-ice altercation
The team is at the tail-end of a historically bad season with a record of 27-42-6 with just seven games left in the season. They are currently in 15th place in the Eastern Conference with 60 points and riding a seven game losing streak. They are still 12 points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres who are currently in last.
The Leafs’ lost 4-1 to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Leafs’ forward Sam Carrick scored the team’s only goal.