It did not take long for the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs to rekindle their rivalry.
On Saturday night the two teams faced off in the very first game of the National Hockey League preseason and it wasn't long before the bad blood between these two teams boiled to the surface. No doubt there is still plenty of animosity remaining between these two teams as a result of their first round series in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, even more so for the Leafs who were eliminated despite coming into the series as heavy favorites.
It was unsurprisingly two players that won't likely be a big factor on either NHL roster that dropped the gloves on Saturday, with Brandon Baddock of the Montreal Canadiens and Kurtis Gabriel of the Toronto Maple Leafs being the two men who decided to tango. That dance came during the opening minutes of the game's second period, a game that was already being soundly controlled by the Leafs who were up by a score of 2 - 0 at the time of this incident.
It was a hit from Kurtis Gabriel that got the whole thing started, and while it was not a particularly big hit on the part of Gabriel it was enough to get Baddock's attention. The hit was not particularly dirty either but, when Baddock decided that he wanted some measure of retribution, Gabriel seemed quite happy to oblige him.
The two men had only a brief exchange along the boards but there was definitely some intent behind the blows being thrown by both men, although neither did a particularly significant amount of damage to the other. Mostly both guys swung wildly while missing, with neither man landing one of the big haymakers being thrown in this one, but the crowd loved it nonetheless. Not surprising when you consider that these games don't mean much in the grand scheme of things.
If nothing else both guys showed that they are willing to mix it up for their team when necessary, and perhaps that will be enough to earn them a few games in the NHL this season.