Major junior hockey can pass well-intentioned rules to restrict fighting, but tempers are still going to flare when rival teams are playing the second game of a home-and-home series.
Morgan Rielly, the Toronto Maple Leafs No. 5 overall pick, was involved in a pier-sixer in the Swift Current Broncos-Moose Jaw Warriors game last Saturday. The Broncos were on their way to a 7-1 win over their Saskatchewan rivals when Warriors forward Andrew Johnson bumped into goalie Eetu Laurikainen in the crease. Laurikainen took whatever is the Finnish word for umbrage and gave Johnson a taste of his blocker. Out of the ensuing skirmish, Rielly and the Broncos' Eric Walker engaged what even those who aren't fight fans would have to agree was a heated melee.
It is notable no second fight broke out during the stoppage, which is what the Western Hockey League and other junior circuits are trying to limit. Moose Jaw had reason to be aggrieved; it was losing a one-sided game. It also had two veteran cogs, forward Justin Kirsch (four games for a checking-from-behind major) and defenceman Joel Edmundson (two for a major and game misconduct) sitting out that night after being suspended for plays in the first game against Swift Current. Meantime, Rielly showed that while the Leafs drrafted him for his potential as an offensive defenceman, he also has some truculence, assuming mentionin that with every Toronto pick is still a thing.
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Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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