Leafs’ forwards Kessel, Booth get into shoving match during practice

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.

WATCH: Angry Phil Kessel calls reporter ‘an idiot’ during interview

“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.

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“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.

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