Wild captain Mikko Koivu and defenseman Matt Dumba had a minor scuffle during Monday’s practice at Xcel Energy Center as they tangled up in a battle drill and fell to the ice.
How minor? There weren’t even any punches thrown.
“It’s a battle drill and things happen,” Koivu said. “It’s not the first time and it’s not the last time. And we’ll go from there.”
Indeed, these types of things are common. Sometimes they fizzle out after 30 seconds. But sometimes they simmer a little longer.
The practice moment stirred up memories of some of the best dust-ups involving teammates in Minnesota sports history. Here are some of the highlights. (And please let us know if we missed any):
Twins Torii Hunter vs. Justin Morneau
Near the end of the 2005 season, Hunter threw a punch at Morneau during a confrontation in the team’s clubhouse. Morneau reportedly didn’t like that Hunter was joking around on the bench and that led to Hunter questioning Morneau’s ability to be a good teammate.
Much like Koivu, Hunter later brushed off the incident.
“It's really no different than fighting with your brothers," Hunter said in a USA Today article about clubhouse feuds. "I argued with them all of the time. We're around one another more than our own family, so you're always going to have your disputes and disagreements. But you settle it, just like I did with Morneau.”
Timberwolves Kevin Garnett vs. Rick Rickert
Garnett punched Rickert, the former Gophers and Duluth East standout, during an offseason workout prior to the 2004-2005 season. Initially, those involved with the incident had little to say about it and for 10 years nobody really knew what happened.
“We were in the gym. It’s no different from any other gym when you get in a squabble with somebody. That was it,” Garnett said at the time. “Nothing more, nothing less than that.”
Then in 2015, Rickert finally told more of his side of the story and said that Garnett, the reigning league MVP at the time, punched Rickert for supposedly out-playing Garnett.
“All I can think of is I was playing better than he expected and he didn’t like that I was playing so well against him,” Rickert said.
Twins Steve Lombardozzi vs. Dan Gladden
According to a Star Tribune story after the incident, Gladden was upset that Lombardozzi left the dugout and went to the clubhouse after being pinch-hit for. Lombardozzi went to Gladden’s home to resolve the issue and the fight broke out.This one is the stuff of legends. Lombardozzi and Gladden engaged in a fistfight at Gladden’s home in 1988, the year after the Twins won the World Series. Lombardozzi showed up at the ballpark the next day with a black eye and scratches down the left side of his swollen face. Gladden had a cracked bone in his right ring finger.
"Two men had a disagreement and they settled it like men. It's done. It's over with. My understanding is that everything's hunky dory.” Twins manager Tom Kelly said. “It's probably better it happened."
Twins Jose Mijares vs. Delmon Young
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire held back Delmon Young from charging his own dugout after getting hit by a pitch from Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman in 2009.
You’re right, this doesn’t make sense.
In case you forgot, here’s what happened: Young was upset with Twins rookie pitcher Jose Mijares, who threw a pitch behind Detroit’s Adam Everett. The next inning, Bonderman retaliated by hitting Young.
Young began yelling and pointing -- at his own dugout.
Both benches cleared, but no punches were thrown while Gardenhire tried to calm his players.
"We didn't need any of this to happen," Young said. "You've got two teams in a pennant race. You don't need to get somebody suspended or hurt. … You can't throw behind their players and expect nothing to happen. If I'm going to get hit, it's going to be because I did something stupid."
The Twins got the last laugh that year, however, defeating Detroit a short time later in an epic Game 163 at the Metrodome.