Leafs-Wings Centennial Classic alumni clash physical and fun

Gary Roberts and Kris Draper proved hockey alumni games aren’t always a waltz on the ice between good ol’ boys.When Roberts and Draper began slashing each other after a check in the corner during Saturday’s Centennial Classic legends tilt, on the eve of the Leafs-Wings main event at BMO Field, the usually friendly tone turned decidedly nasty.“It wasn’t fake, I can tell you that,” a smiling Draper said after his Detroit Red Wings alumni team — including Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, who finished with a goal and an assist — beat Roberts and the Maple Leafs side, 4-3.“I don’t know who hit (Draper’s linemate Dino Ciccarelli) but Gary came in and hit me. There was an exchange and all that . . . but that’s who we are. That’s what we do. You have that competitiveness, and we don’t get that enough when you walk away from the game.”It was one of several highlights in what was anything but a mundane affair that was decided on another controversial note: Draper’s game-winning goal came off a rebound from a slapshot, even though there was a gentlemen’s agreement that there would be no slappers.Article Continued BelowAll that plus a turn-back-the-clock save by 62-year-old former Leafs goalie Mike Palmateer showed there was more at stake here than exchanging stories and beers after the final whistle.Roberts was clearly incensed after the initial exchange. The former Leaf took Draper into the boards after Ciccarelli went in first, making contact with a Leafs defender. One thing led to another and the slashing quickly escalated. A BMO Field crowd announced at 28,710 loved it, and social media lit up with reaction.Roberts was so incensed that he declined comment to the in-game broadcast crew, saying something to the effect that “you don’t want to talk to me right now.”

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