Fighting in hockey is a part of the game. Though it usually takes place during the game, not at practice.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and forward Craig Adams fought each other during the team’s game-day skate on Friday morning prior to Pittsburgh’s 6-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning that night.
At the end of the skate the team was doing battle drills. A couple slashes exchanged between Malkin and Adams led to a skirmish that was broken up by teammates. The result was Adams leaving with blood on his mouth. He was forced to wear a protective shield in the game that night.
“I have no problem (with Adams)," Malkin said. "I cut his lips a little bit, but it's bad luck and we talked after practice. With the team, too. It’s nothing bad and we played together the last three shifts. We played strong in the game."
Although tempers erupted, that’s not unusual to see from players that spend the better part of a year during an 82-game season together.
“The players are together a lot and over the course of the year there are going to be disagreements, there are going to be arguments,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We haven’t had any situations in any of our drill so far this year that has boiled over, but I know every team I’ve been on, every year there’s always a situation where guys get carried away, they whack each other in practice and they get mad at each other and then what happens after that the players have to deal with it.”
Malkin and Adams talked to each other after the skate and as mentioned before, even worked together as linemates at times during the game.
“Sometimes it happens,” Malkin said. “A little bit of a battle in front of the net at the end of practice. It was a small fight. It was nothing bad. We talked after practice and we’re still together as a team.”