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Dalpe Fight Hits Close to Home

First NHL fight Tuesday night came against a familiar face

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Minnesota Wild forward Zac Dalpe could sense his teammates needed a lift on Tuesday night in Boston. So a little over two minutes into the Wild's game against the Bruins, Dalpe dropped the gloves with Boston's Tim Schaller.

Both Dalpe and Schaller landed a few blows before each was escorted to the penalty box to serve five-minute fighting majors. That's where the fun began.

As it turns out, Dalpe and Schaller -- both former Buffalo Sabres farmhands -- are good buddies. So close, that Schaller will be attending Dalpe's wedding next summer.

"I'm good friends with Timmy. We had a good laugh about it after," Dalpe said after practice on Wednesday. "We exchanged a few text messages [after the game]. But whatever happens on the ice stays on the ice."

Dalpe said one of the funnier moments came afterward when both were sitting in the penalty box. While he wouldn't reveal all of what was exchanged, he did reveal a good one-liner he tossed his buddy's way.

"You punch pretty good for someone coming to my wedding," Dalpe told Schaller. 

The fight was Dalpe's first of his NHL career. The fact that it came against a friend of his was a little surreal.

"Never would have thought it would be against him," Dalpe said. "Nonetheless, you kind of get your feet wet, so to speak. But it is a little weird fighting a friend, that's for sure."

Video: Wild on Dalpe Creating a Spark

Minnesota went on to win the game 5-0. Perhaps it was Dalpe's willingness to fire up the troops early in the game that helped set the stage for the Wild's four-goal second period. 

"I've played in Boston before. I know it's just a hard building to play in," Dalpe said. "I thought a nice little spark like that, a mutual exchange, would have gotten both sides into it. Luckily, we were on the good side of it."

A mini homecoming for Dalpe

Dalpe was one of only a handful of players to take the ice for a quick skate at Key Bank Center in Buffalo on Wednesday as the Wild prepared to finish off a four-game road trip against the Sabres on Thursday.

Dalpe played in 21 games for Buffalo in 2014-15, scoring one goal and three points. 

But his history in the area dates back much further. Born in Paris, Ontario, Dalpe grew up less than 90 minutes from Buffalo and attended several games here as a kid. 

He said he's sure to see plenty of familiar faces in the crowd on Thursday.

"Buffalo, for me, is more nostalgic than Toronto," Dalpe said. "We had a family friend growing up who had season tickets here, right along the glass. Still has them. Luckily, we got to come and watch games with those season tickets. 

"It's cool coming back here. When you've played on a couple teams, it's always weird seeing familiar faces on the other bench. But nothing I'm not used to."

Spurgeon, Haula skate

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon and forward Erik Haula were among those that skated on Wednesday. 

For Spurgeon, it was his third straight day of on-ice action and second day skating with the team.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said there's a chance he returns against the Sabres, but that odds were against it.

Video: Bruce Boudreau on Haula and Spurgeon Skating

"There's always a chance," Boudreau said, citing the movie Dumb and Dumber. "So you're saying there's a chance? There's a chance, but I wouldn't be overly optimistic at this stage."

For Haula, it was his first time back on the ice in several days as he continues to nurse a lower-body injury. Both players remain day-to-day.

"That's good for both of them and good for our team when those guys are skating," Boudreau said. "They're valuable parts to our team. When they're healthy enough to play, they'll play."

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