WILMINGTON — Some of the forwards at this week’s Bruins development camp could end up fighting for a spot on the Stanley Cup champions’ opening night roster. For some of the OHL players in town, the fight is nothing new. They’ve already fought each other.
The Bruins have some experienced dancers in camp in 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara and 2009 sixth-rounder Tyler Randell. The two one another, as they are from the same area in Ontario and work out together back home. Before they knew they’d be in the same organization, they also knew each other from another experience, and it did not involve gloves.
The two squared off back on Jan. 15, when Randell’s Kitchener Rangers were playing Camara’s Saginaw Spirit. They dropped the gloves in the Kitchener zone in a fast-paced, spirited (no pun intended) bout.
“That was a bit of a weird fight,” Randell recalled Thursday. “We squared off. One of my teammates ended up tripping him up, so finally we got together and went down pretty quick.”
Camara wasn’t the only in-house dance partner of Randell, as the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Randell fought a rather unlikely opponent on Nov. 15 in right-wing prospect and 2010 32nd overall pick Jared Knight. There are certainly no hard feelings between any of the three players, and Knight and Randell actually sit next to each other in the Wilmington dressing room. Having their conversation interrupted with a question about the time they fought was something they didn’t mind.
“It was my only fight of the year, and it was against a heavyweight like him,” Knight said, slapping Randell on the back.
Halfway through the third period of a game in which Kitchener was crushing Knight’s London Knights by a 7-1 score, Knight gave Randell a little something along the half wall, and when Randell came back seconds later, the gloves came off.
“It was [7-1]. I didn’t really realize it was him,” Knight recalled with a grin. “I gave him a cross-check to the face, I think. He didn’t like it, so I dropped my gloves, he dropped his gloves and it wasn’t a very long fight. … It was [7-1], and there was probably no reason to fight, but I did it.”
Any past bouts between prospects are long forgotten by now, and if anything, they’re a good conversation piece for the players. Knight and Randell said they chatted with one another from the penalty box after their fight, and on Tuesday they laughed about the lack of actual punches exchanged.
“We know our role, and we know what we have to do,” Randell, who got in 21 scraps in the OHL last year, said. “You could be great friends or you can hate each other, and you still do the same job on the ice. When you’re off the ice, it’s a whole different world.”