When the NHL released its return to play plan, we knew there would be plenty of opportunities for rivalries to form and games to get heated. With seven teams in the North Division, the Toronto Maple Leafs see the same six teams repeatedly. While there hasn’t been anything over the top, there have been moments where the temperature has gone up a few notches.
That’s what happened with just 25 seconds left in the game against the Edmonton Oilers on March 1st. A scrum broke out after the whistle in front of the Leafs net. The Oilers’ Josh Archibald popped Travis Dermott in the face sending the defenceman to the ice. Dermott saw red when he got up, and the two had a heated discussion before locking up for a quick tussle where no punches were thrown. Dermott locked up Archibald and wrestled him to the ice, which resulted in the feisty forward chirping Dermott while being escorted off the ice. Dermott responded by clapping for Archibald.
But the story continued the next day. Sportsnet tweeted out a video that showed Dermott getting fighting pointers from Zach Bogosian. In this video, Dermott explains what he was learning from his teammate
Dermott and Archibald did not have a rematch the following game, and Dermott has not dropped the gloves since his fighting 101 class. The fact is that fighting is just not part of his game, and it won’t be any time soon. However, there is still more than half of a season to go, meaning there is still plenty of time for emotions to run over. Next time, Dermott will be better prepared.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.